April 22, 2008

Jesus: Anointed by the Spirit

Isaiah 11:1-5

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding.
Isaiah 11:2


The gospel in Isaiah is clearly focused on Christ. Three times in Isaiah, Jesus is described as the one fully anointed by God’s Spirit. In Isaiah 42:1, the Lord’s servant is anointed to become the ultimate justice-bearer: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.”

In Isaiah 61:1, Christ’s anointing is for the sake of bearing good news: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”

In our reading for today, the Spirit rests on the Branch (Jesus) so that he becomes the ultimate wisdom-bearer. Unlike us, the incarnate Son of God never stumbled into deceptions or embraced this world’s lies. With a clear eye he stayed focused on the divine purpose of his life.

Of course, it’s easy to declare that Jesus saw things perfectly because he was Immanuel (“God with us”). But note a special emphasis in this passage. The Spirit inspires “the fear of the Lord.” This fear isn’t cowering terror but a sense of deep awe, even love for the Father. The “fear of the Lord” kept Immanuel clear-eyed regarding truth.

When the Spirit inspires that same “fear of the Lord” in us, we can focus on the truth too.

Anointed Christ, thank you for your grace. May we reflect your love as we seek justice and truth, and may we bring good news to the people around us today. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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