The Anointed ManĀ 

Every aspect of Christ's Manhood is full of instruction for the saints of God. The counsels of the Godhead required that the Son should become Man to give effect to all God's will, and even before Jesus came into the world, such a Scripture as Proverbs 8:22-31, couched in mystic form, brings this before us. Personally existing in eternity, dwelling in unapproachable light, He whom no man hath seen, nor can see, looked forward to the time when, as Man, He would have men associated with Him in the place that God had given them according to His eternal counsels, His brethren, and joint-heirs with Him in the inheritance of the coming day.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me

Coming into Manhood, and entering upon His public ministry, the Lord Jesus carried out in His pathway all God's will by the Spirit of God. He had been conceived by the Spirit, and when baptized by John, the Holy Spirit had rested upon Him. By the Spirit He was the sealed of the Father, claimed by the Father for Himself as Man here in this world. But the Holy Spirit was also upon Him to be for God in all things.

The Holy Spirit being upon Him, Jesus is found in Luke 4:1 "full of the Holy Ghost," and he returned "from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" to be tempted of Satan. All the actions of the Man Christ Jesus were under the control of the Holy Spirit. Although He cast out evil spirits by His word, He attributed the power to the Holy Spirit, even as He says in Matthew 12:28, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." As Son, Jesus attributed His works and words to His Father, as Man, He attributed the power He manifested to the Spirit of God.

The Lord hath Anointed Me

This prophecy of Isaiah 61, as is well known, was read by the Lord in the synagogue of Nazareth, as recorded in Luke 4, and having closed the book, He said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears" (verse 21). When God anoints anyone it is for the accomplishment of His will, and often for some special mission. Aaron and his sons were anointed for the priesthood among His people. Saul and David were anointed as kings over Israel; and God said to Elijah, after he had rested at Mount Horeb, "anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu … king over Israel: and Elisha … shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room" (1 Kings 19:15-16); and the verse that follows gives part of the special mission of this anointing by Elijah.

To Preach Good Tidings unto the Meek

The Lord was not anointed to carry out a work of judgment, but rather to tell out the good tidings of the grace of God. Like Elisha, He was God's anointed prophet of grace. His anointing as God's High Priest awaited His ascension to God's right hand; and although the rightful king of Israel, He was rejected, and will not come forth as the anointed King till the time appointed by the Father.

His good tidings were of forgiveness of sins, salvation and peace, as spoken to the sinner in Simon the Pharisee's house. In His parable of the two debtors, spoken in the same place, the Lord brought out God's disposition to men, His offer of pardon to all, no matter how deeply they were indebted to Him. Wherever He went, Jesus preached and showed the glad tidings of the kingdom of God (Luke 8:1), a message so different from the demands of law that had sounded in the ears of Israel since they gathered beneath the mount of Sinai.

Isaiah tells us that the glad tidings were to the meek, for the meek received them, but the proud and rebellious refused them. God's message was received by the disciples of the Lord, by those who formed the godly remnant from among the nation of Israel. The news of God's grace also attracted the publicans and sinners, for they drew near to hear Jesus. Conscious of their deep need, the outcasts found the good news of divine blessing, through grace, most attractive. As repentant, they were numbered among the meek.

Luke tells us that the good tidings were for the poor, as indeed they were. So many of the rich were so engrossed with the material riches of this world that they had no desire for the riches of God's grace, and so be rich toward God. There were such as the rich farmer of Luke 12, and the rich man who lifted up his eyes in hell, and even such a lovely character as the rich young ruler, who preferred present riches to the eternal riches that Christ had come to give. But although the Gospel was preached to the poor, there were those, like the devoted women who ministered to the Lord of their substance (Luke 8:2-3), like Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-9), and like Joseph of Arimathaea, who gladly availed themselves of God's imperishable riches, made known in Jesus.

To Bind Up the Broken Hearted

Anointed by God, the Lord Jesus was sent on His divine mission, and this included this blessed expression of wondrous grace, the binding up of broken hearts.

Do we not see this carried out in the way the Lord deals with the poor repentant sinner in Simon's house, as He pours into her broken heart the news of forgiveness, salvation and peace? And the same manifold grace is ministered in another of its varied forms as He says to the broken-hearted, widowed mother, whose son had died, "Weep not" (Luke 7:13). His word of power that raised the dead son healed the broken heart.

Jairus and his wife, and the sorrowing sisters of Bethany, were among the many who learned of the grace that was in Jesus for the healing of broken hearts. This wondrous ministry of healing was not carried out simply by the expression of divine power, for the One who raised the dead groaned and wept in the presence of the awful ravages of sin. The disciples of the Lord were unable to relieve the distress of the broken-hearted father whose son was demon possessed; they had to learn that divine power in the midst of sin could only be manifested at personal cost; and God's anointed Man endured and suffered in the expression of divine power in His ministry of healing.

To Proclaim Liberty to the Captives

All men are in captivity to sin and Satan until they are set free by the Son of God. The Jews said to the Lord, "We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man." The Lord's answer was, "Whoever committeth sin is the servant of sin … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:31-36). In spite of all their religious zeal, they were servants of sin, in captivity to sin and Satan.

In Luke 8 we see in poor Legion one who was under captivity to Satan. Nothing that men could do could free him from the power of the demons that possessed him; but there was One who had come to proclaim liberty to the slaves of Satan, and He set Legion free. It was a demonstration of the divine power in Jesus that evinced He could liberate from Satan's bondage all who would come to Him. The woman whom the Lord liberated from the spirit of infirmity had been bound by Satan for eighteen years (Luke 13:11-16).

Mary Magdalene and the other women of Luke 8:2 knew the liberty that the Lord had given them from Satan's bondage. Like them, we too have been delivered from the power of sin and Satan; and on account of the Lord having gone into death, how blessed is the liberty that we now enjoy; as written in Hebrews 2:15, He has delivered those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Romans 6 shows how the saints of God are set free from the service of sin, and Romans 7 how we are made free from the law by the body of Christ.

Recovery of Sight to the Blind

In Isaiah the healing of the broken hearted is omitted, while in Luke the recovery of sight to the blind is brought in by the Lord, probably reading from the Septuagint. The opening of the eyes of the blind is one of the marks of Jehovah's Servant, whom He has anointed (Isaiah 42:7). There were many who benefited by the Lord's coming to give sight to the blind; and Israel ought to have discerned in this mark of Messiah the presence of God's Anointed. At different times of the Lord's ministry were blind eyes opened.

The blind man of Bethsaida and the blind man of Jericho have valuable lessons for us to learn; and the blind man of Jerusalem very evidently shows how the presence of the Son of God brought not only natural sight to him, but also spiritual vision, the eyes of his heart being opened. In John 9 there is not only divine grace in the opening of blind eyes, but judicial blindness on those who, in self-will, have refused the testimony of the Son of God (John 9:39); and this had also been foreseen by Isaiah (John 12:38-41).

To Set at Liberty the Bruised

In Isaiah it is the opening of the prison to them that are bound, so that the bonds are not only untied, but the doors of the prison are opened. The Spirit's interpretation for us is the setting at liberty those that are bruised. Legion was not only Satan's captive; he was also bruised and crushed under the heel of his oppressor. This is how the devil treats his captives; he binds them, imprisons them, and crushes them. But the Lord came to undo the work of the devil, and He gives a thorough release to those who truly own His Lordship.

This was the Lord's work on earth, but it clearly foreshadows what He accomplished through His death. To accomplish this great work He went into death, and there, where His heel, as the woman's seed, was bruised, He crushed the serpent's head. Coming out of death He has brought a great deliverance, having broken the prison gates of death, not for Himself only, but also for His own, to set them in liberty and joy before the face of God His Father. When He opened the prison gates of death for Lazarus, He said, "Loose him, and let him go."

To Preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord

In grace God was not now making demands upon men which it was impossible for them to fulfil; He was offering them richest blessing through faith in His Son whom He had sent to them. Soon there would be the day of vengeance for all who refused His Son, but now it was God's acceptable year, a prolonged period compared with the day in which there would be the short work of His judgment. We are still in the acceptable year; God is still disposed towards men in grace, and all who heed His message receive His blessing.

The Lord closed the Book at this word, for the next part of His mission, the execution of divine judgment, was not yet. He was able to say, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears;" for His words of grace would not only continue till He was crucified, but after He would take His place at the Father's right hand, the message of grace would still go out, not to Israel only, but also to the Gentiles. How wonderful for us that the Lord closed the book where He did, and that the time for God's day of vengeance has not yet come, though come it will, and the day for it draws near.