Word Speak

Mark 2: 2

And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.

Jesus’ public ministry began when he stood up to read in the synagogue. Opening the book of Isaiah, he read his commission (see Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 and Luke 4: 18 – 19). He came to preach the good news, proclaim liberty, recovery, and the year of the Lord and to free the downtrodden. In a sound bite, that is his mandate from God. Notice that his assignment included preach and proclaim. It is no wonder, then, that his ministry involved speaking the word.

Jesus’ proclamation, his preaching was of the Word of God, not of himself. Isn’t that interesting? Of all of the ministers and priests of all of the ages, if there is one who should be qualified to preach of his own knowledge, wisdom and intelligence it would seem to be Jesus. Yet, his preaching was, and is, proclaiming the Word of God. Apparently his message was so good that there was no even standing room. The Word ministered to people’s need and it still does today.

None of the things Jesus did on this earth were of himself. He always relied on the wisdom and guidance of the Father. Do you remember the story of the woman who was cast at his feet by the Pharisees, accused of adultery? They pitted Jesus in a quandary between grace and law wondering what he would choose. Either way, they figured, they would win. Jesus did not answer them immediately. Instead, he stooped down and began to write in the dirt. Finally, when they pressed him, he stood and gave such an enlightened answer that all of their guile folded back upon them. So, my question is this, “What was Jesus doing when was stooped over writing in the dirt?” We don’t really know but I believe he was inquiring of his Father.

My point is this, everything Jesus used for his ministry is available to us and even more. When Jesus spoke the Word, he only had the Old Testament writings. Think of how much we have in the New Testament with all of the stories about Jesus, words he spoke when he lived here and the writings of the apostles. I believe the power of Jesus’ ministry was that he was grounded in God’s Word. That is what he gave to people and out of that flowed the healings and miracles.

Don’t you wonder what Old Testament wisdom He spoke when he sat down to teach? Which stories did he retell? Think about it this way, we have in our hands, the substance of Jesus’ every sermon. That awes me. What did he see in those ancient texts? Whenever he preached, lives were changed. Wouldn’t every pastor in the world love to be able to make that claim. It is all there for us all, the leading of the Holy Spirit and the thoughts and wisdom of God as recorded in the Bible. Those are the tools with which Jesus changed the world. What can we do with them?

The Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 58: 10

And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday.

When I read this verse I also hear Isaiah 61 which is Jesus’ commission. Do you recall in Luke 4 that Jesus entered the temple and stood up to read and the book of Isaiah was handed to him? He read Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives…” and so on. This is the mission of Jesus in the earth. When you read today’s verse in the light of Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 you see the prophetic utterance that was on Isaiah when he wrote what we know today as chapter 58.

Jesus has in fact given himself to feeding the hungry. Just think of the times he fed the great multitudes as well as how he is the bread of life to us all today. He came that he might fill the desire of the afflicted bringing them the good news of the gospel. This light, then, that Isaiah spoke of which will rise in the darkness is the glory of God which is in Christ Jesus and all his work. When the work, the commission of Jesus is performed his glory shines so that the darkness must give way. Jesus’ glory shines as brightly as the noontime sun. There is no gloom in the glory of God.

In addition, you must understand that today’s verse is also a personal word to you today. We all operate under the commission of Christ. I was flabbergasted the first time God gave me Isaiah 61 as a personal message because I didn’t understand that each of us is called under Christ’s commission. Think of the military for a moment. We have been commissioned as officers in Jesus’ great army but the commission is not authorized in our name but rather in Jesus’. We are under his great commission and authority. Therefore, Isaiah 61 refers to you just as it does to Jesus. So, God is revealing to us today that when we give ourselves to the performance of Jesus’ commission the glory of the Lord will be revealed and will light up the dark places. In other words, we can affect the glory of the Lord. Isn’t that exciting? When we operate under our commission and give ourselves to feeding the hungry, helping the afflicted, preaching good news, etc. then we cause God’s glory to radiate. When you hear this, though, do not only think of the poor in your community. God has a much broader concept in mind. You can shine God’s light in the lives of your employees, boss, family, the person at the grocery store; literally every person you meet. Don’t forget the poor but don’t ignore the person in the cubicle next to you either.

Notice one thing more. Today’s verse teaches that we are to “give ourselves” to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted. It does not say that we are to give bread to the hungry. It says that we give ourselves. This then is not a passing smile or a casual nod. Our commission requires that we give of ourselves. This means our inner self or our real self. We must strip away the mask that we carry through our work day and allow the love of God to shine through. We must open the treasure trove of our hearts for that is where God and Jesus live. The only way we are going to satisfy the desire of the afflicted is to give them the heartfelt love of the Christ. When we give ourselves to the needs of others the glory of the Lord Jesus shines. When the glory of the Lord shines, the love of God is revealed. Every ray of sonshine illuminates and reveals the Father.

Would you like to see the glory of the Lord? Watch as you give yourself over to the needs of humanity. Christ will be revealed and his glory will drive away all darkness.