The Jesus Project: He binds…

2014-1027 TJP The-One-Who-proclaims

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted…” –Isaiah 61:1

Binding is no small thing. Covenants bound men to men and men to God. Parts of the tabernacle were bound together. And Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 18 the power of binding:

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (verse 18).

God takes binding seriously. And Jesus recognizes the power of the binding. So what can it mean that Jesus came to bind the broken hearted. His purpose was to take what is broken in us and bind it together. To heal the wounds that we can move forward in His calling on our lives. He knows the heaviness of a broken heart. And He knows the power that comes in binding.

Whatever wound you are harboring, bring it to Him. The gouge that never quite healed is the very thing He can pull back together. He will close the gape, stop the hemorrhage, and layer on the healing salve of peace. His hands probe only to release anything that might infect the healing. And then He binds.

The One Who proclaims the power of binding promises to bring His Savior’s hands to your wounds. Let Him bind. Let Him heal you.

The Jesus Project: He Brings Good News…

TJP You-are-created-You-are

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news…” –Isaiah 61:1a, ESV

He brings good news.

Jesus doesn’t come empty handed. He arrives with the anointing of the Spirit, His purpose from God, and carrying with Him the best of all things: the good news. But what is it, exactly?

You are created

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…The God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” –Genesis 1:1, 26, 27, 2:7, ESV

But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'” –Isaiah 43:1, ESV

You are loved

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -Romans 8:31, 33-35, 37-39, ESV

You can be forgiven

Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” –Luke 24:46-47, ESV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16, ESV

 

You can be saved

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believe in Him is not condemned…” –John 3:17-18a, ESV

You can be made new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” –2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV

“‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” –Revelation 21:5, ESV

You can have peace

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace” –Ephesians 2:13-15, ESV

You can have life

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” –1 John 4:9, ESV

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” –Ephesians 3:19-21, ESV

You can have purpose

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” –1 Timothy 1:15-16, ESV

What do you feel you lack? If it is forgiveness, He’s already done the work–you need only to ask for release. If it is salvation, He conquered death that you may have life. And if you salvation question is already sealed, that you know you’re His, do you need a reminder that you were created with purpose? Maybe your praise pants are in a bunch and you need a little peace. The good news brings all you need for life and liberty in Christ.

…all because He came bringing the good news.

“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” –Proverbs 25:25, ESV

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” –Revelation 21:6, ESV

Drink deeply. Quench the thirst. And keep coming back for more.

The Jesus Project: Jesus brings…

TJP Where-you-feel-lack-look

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring…” –Isaiah 61:1a

“What are you bringing,” the question of the hour for any potluck sign-up sheet. As the organizer, making sure proteins are covered, not wanting to send people home on a dinner of sides. Are there veggies? Chocolate? Beverages? What’s missing?

And there’s always that one person who hangs back. They get asked by others what’s coming from their kitchen to a response of “Not sure yet.” Later, that person will discreetly sidle up to the host, “I’ll bring whatever is still needed.”

A lifesaver.

When there are holes that the host cannot possibly fill, this last contributor lifts a load the host was just beginning to try and carry alone.

In basketball, he’s called the utility player–playing whatever position is needed at any given time. He plays guard when the coach needs a during-game strategy session with the point guard. He slides down to center when the big man needs a breather, because sometimes elegantly-scrappy play can cover when sizable braun needs a moment. He brings what is needed for the team to succeed. His own stats won’t be remarkable in any one area, because he is used in all areas.

He is MVP. He’s loud in action but quiet in attitude. He’s always there to lend support in whatever way that team needs it. The team is the point.

In the spiritual life, Jesus is our utility player. He fills the seen and unseen voids. He gives us each opportunity to bring what we can to the team–and He fills in what remains unfulfilled and necessary.

Our Jesus brings.

Where you feel lack, look for Him.
Where you feel weak, lean on Him.
Where you feel success, pull Him in. For whether you sensed it or not, the Utility Player worked.

He brings joy in the morning.
He brings peace beyond comprehension.
He brings what is necessary that you may be complete, lacking in nothing.

Go to Him now.
Tell Him what you have.
Tell Him where you lack.
And watch the Great Utility Player do what He does best: everything else.

The Jesus Project: The Messiah Who Does…

TJP Messiah-acts-Prophesied

Before we dig into each of the lessons to come, let’s take a moment and overview what is to come. Read Isaiah 61:1-3. What stands out to you? As an overview, something catches my eye. Isaiah gives us quite a number of verbs. But those verbs are not for us. Read over them again. Those verbs describe that which Jesus does as Messiah.

Our Jesus does. He does not sit aside. He does not wait. Jesus executes. He works out the will of God in our lives. He does.

We’ve fallen prey to the mixing up God’s commands to us as a parallel reality for Him. What He commands of us, to wait and trust and follow, are not the same directives for Him. Think it through.

Who are we to wait on?
Him.

What are we to wait for?
Him.

In Whom are we to trust?
Him.

Whom are we to follow?
Him.

He cannot fulfill the same directives, as He is the point. He is the center. He is the director of this orchestra. Imagine an orchestra conductor who tries to follow his own signals. It simply does not make sense. Neither does it make sense for us to cast Jesus in the same light as us.

Yes, He is fully Man, and as such He is the high priest who can understand our afflictions. But He is also something we never can be. He is fully God. We are not. His directives cannot be the same as ours else He would not be different than us.

And our Jesus is different. Embrace that. Let that set a moment. Let it sink in that the Jesus Who commands us is not subject to the same commands in the same way.

So remove Him from the same light. Remember He is the Messiah Who does. And God gave those words to Isaiah before Jesus became incarnate.

Our Messiah acts. He is always executing. Imagine baking bread. At no point in the process does the baker only wait. Yes, there are phases where the baker mixes and kneads, but every step of the way is baking bread. Even in the rising, when the tough lump of dough sits, the baker is still making bread. As the yeast activates and those air bubbles emerge from the yeast process, the baker is still making bread though the baker’s hands do not touch the dough at this phase. When the raised dough gets punched down, formed into what will predicate its final form, the baker’s hands are active. But when the dough is in the oven, the baker is still making bread. The baker knows the dough, the properties of the ingredients, and knows how to make them come together in a way that makes bread. Every step of the process is making bread.

Here’s the thing: Jesus is always executing. Like the baker, Jesus is refining us. We may not feel His hands pressing and pulling and shaping, but it doesn’t mean He has stopped, or that He is waiting. The baker doesn’t wait for the dough to learn a lesson before moving to the next step.

We have so mistaken Jesus. He does not wait. He executes. In John 2, when He tells Mary, “My time has not yet come,” He isn’t waiting. He is executing the plan. And the plan had not reached the point where He would be publicly revealed as Messiah. He wasn’t waiting; He was following the plan.

Which takes us back to Isaiah. The anointed Messiah acts:

  • bring (vs. 1)
  • bind (vs. 1)
  • proclaim (vs. 1)
  • opening (vs. 1)
  • proclaim (vs. 2)
  • comfort (vs. 2)
  • grant (vs. 3)
  • give (vs. 3)

Messiah acts. Prophesied before His incarnation, listed in Isaiah, the Messiah acts. He does not wait, He does not sit. He acts. If you catch yourself thinking that Jesus is waiting on you to do something, stop. The God of the universe need not your permission to execute His plan. Does He want your cooperation? Yes. Does He know you cooperating will make the process more peace-filled for you? Yes. But is He bound by you? No. He acts. He executes His plan.

Jesus waits for no man. Jesus does. Embrace that as you go through your day. Jesus is not waiting for the perfect time to do anything–He is executing the part of the plan necessary for today. Stop believing Jesus is twiddling His heavenly thumbs, just kicking around the clouds waiting. Jesus acts. He always has.

The Jesus Project: The Anointed Messiah

TJP Jesus-came-to-show-us

Last session (found here), we explored anointing. We looked at what it is and what happens as a result of it. Our focus passage again is verse one of Isaiah 61.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.” –Isaiah 61:1, ESV

We started with the why last time, seeking to understand the because before we try to understand the Who. Today it is time for the Who. Isaiah’s ink flows with words describing the coming Messiah. The people of Israel believed, or maybe hoped is a mores accurate word, that the Messiah would be a conquering ruler to overthrow the nations that held Israel captive. What they received instead was a Messiah who overthrew the sin that holds all people captive. The nations would come later, but Jesus prioritizes. More concerned about the security of a soul, He came first to save the people from sin. He will come again to reign in the kind of power the Israelites expected of Him the first time.

But it all started with anointing. using our same learning points from last time, let’s turn our eyes away from the reference texts and toward the Messiah. What does it mean that our Messiah is anointed?

Making an instrument holy

We learned last time that anointing makes an instrument holy that it may be of service to God. Exodus showed us how each piece of the tabernacle’s service instruments needed anointing before being put into service. The instrument must be holy that it may come before God to fulfill its purpose.

We are made holy through the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice. We have exactly zero other ways to be holy. None. Zip. Zilch. There is one way to God, and that is through believing and confessing the blood of Jesus as the covering for our sins.

We rely on Him alone to be holy. So He better be holy Himself. If we cover ourselves with something that is not holy to get us to God, God will see that filthy thing and turn it away. A wolf in sheep’s clothing can get into the fold because the shepherd sees what looks like a sheep.

We are wolves. Our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and we can do no good thing on our own (Romans 7:18). But we seek the ultimate Shepherd, the God of the universe. The Shepherd only looks after animals that look like sheep. the difference between simile and truth here is this: we are not fooling God by showing up covered in the Lamb. He knows what is under that cover. And He loves us. He just cannot accept us without the cover of the One that is holy.

If our own salvation relies on the holiness of Another, then that Other has to be holy. Yes, Jesus is God (John 10:30), and thereby cannot sin. But we cannot grasp that in its entirety, it is too much. The people of Israel, and now to those who are not of Israel, we can understand cleaning something up so it can be put to good use. Even as I write, the dishwasher cleans the breakfast dishes that they can be used another time. We understand that. And the people of Israel, having lived in the life of the tabernacle, understood the purification of the instruments.

We can understand the need for cleaning. Anointing does that. So in proclaiming the Messiah as anointed by God, Isaiah tells us the One Who saves is already holy. Anointing is the evidence of a holy vessel. Praise God for Jesus’ anointing, for by no other way could we reach to throne of grace.

Sanctifying the anointed

Last session we learned how anointing and sanctification are not interchangeable concepts. However, wherever there is anointing, sanctification hovers nearby. Where holiness prepares an instrument for use in service, sanctification sets that instrument apart for a specific service specifically to God.

Jesus’ primary purpose on earth was to do the will of the Father (Luke 22:42). And we are the beneficiaries of that will. How do I know? Venture with me to some life-breathing, fear-eradicating, welcome-Home scriptures:

“(Jesus speaking) ‘And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.'” –John 6:39-40, ESV

Did that shake your theology for just a second? We are taught that Jesus came for us. Well, yes, kinda. He came to fulfill the will of the Father. Period. If the Father had asked Him to dance a jig, Jesus would have done it. If God wanted Jesus to write the next great cookbook to save the people from their gluttony, then Jesus would be cooking up a storm on the promotional circuit. We must, MUST get off of ourselves as the center of all things. We must set aside the notion that God is only fascinated with us and us alone.

We have to move away from we being the center. For if we continue to believe that we are the point, we will continue to miss the point. If I believe that Jesus’ sole purpose on earth was to save me, then I get fooled into believing that my sole purpose on earth is to either a) save me, b) save others, both of which set me up to be Savior. Jesus is our model, but He did not come to model how to be a Savior.

Read that: Jesus is our model, but He did not come to model how to be a Savior.

Is your ministry struggling? Maybe it is because you are focused on saving people. It is not your place to save people, for only the Savior can do that. Only a Savior can save. You are not the Savior. I am not the Savior. And I can tell you that the very moment I threw my hands in the air and gave up on measuring the results of my ministry by the numbers of changed lives, an immense pressure released from my shoulders. Are changed lives good? Sure. Am I pleased when people turn away from sin? Absolutely. But is that my role in ministry? No.

Stick with this for just a minute more. Yes, I may have just exploded your concept of ministry. You might be feeling a bit unnerved by this and wondering if I’ve gone off the rails. I haven’t. Here’s why.

Jesus’ purpose was the serve the Father. Jesus was anointed that He could serve the Father. Anointing sanctifies in that it sets apart Jesus for a specific purpose in serving the Father. Jesus came to show us how to live by the Spirit serving the Father’s will. That is why He came. That is the model He provides. The root of it all is that it pleased the Lord to provide us an example of how to live. You are not the point of Jesus coming. And that should free you from the pressure that comes when we allow ourselves to be the center.

Jesus’ anointing shows that He is sanctified. And as all sanctified instruments, He is sanctified for service to the Lord. It is the Lord He looks to, the Lord He prays to, and the Lord He serves. If you want to get in good with Jesus, follow His example of serving the Lord.

“(Jesus speaking) ‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.'” –Matthew 7:21, ESV

Jesus was sanctified for service to the Lord. And that example is one we can embrace.

Consecrating the anointed

We learned last session that consecration is not the same as being made holy or being sanctified. Consecration is being filled to overflowing that one can carry out the work set before them. Where does this power come from? Jesus tells us in Acts 1:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8, ESV

To quickly review, anointing comes with it being made holy, being set apart (sanctified) for service, and consecration by which one is filled to overflowing with power. That our Messiah is anointed means He was filled with power. Jesus needed the Spirit to fulfill His calling. How do we know?

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” –Matthew 3:16, ESV

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” –Luke 4:1, ESV

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.” –Luke 4:14, ESV

In consecration, God provides overflowing power by which to accomplish any task He deems necessary. Jesus did not accomplish His ministry alone. He was filled by the Holy Spirit every step of the way. Jesus was consecrated, filled to overflowing, through the Holy Spirit Who was there in every step of His ministry.

That the anointed may minister to God

Jesus had a specific ministry. His time on earth was motivated primarily by serving the will of the Father. For each of us, the will of the Father likely differs. One person may be called to serve through teaching in a religious setting. Another may also be gifted with teaching, but called to serve in a secular forum, showing glimpses of Him though not able to teach specifically about Him. Another may be called to prayer as primary ministry, while still another is called to rely on those prayer warriors that they can go out and teach the gospel through all the earth.

Did you notice the difference. We all have the exact same primary purpose on this earth: to follow the Father’s will. Period. Let that settle in and become the foundation of how you see service to God. Before adding to it, let the primacy of  serving God’s will re-center as the core of your purpose. For if this moves off-center, you are frankly, up a creek in white-water rapids holding onto a twig and grasping for your last breath. Do not confuse your gifting with your purpose. Your purpose is to serve God and to follow His will wherever that may lead.

Jesus was a gifted Teacher. He was a gifted Scholar. He was a gifted Healer. He was a gifted Counselor. And at any given point, He could have used any one of those giftings. But did the woman at the well need a scholar? Or did she need a word of grace? Did the men in the temple need physical healing, or did they really need a scholar to show them the revelation of the very works they spent their lives studying? In each circumstance, Jesus relied on the will of the Father to carry out what the circumstance needed.

In carrying out the will of the Father, Jesus served the Father in each specific situation He encountered. His primary focus tuned to the Father’s will, and being fueled by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was able to carry out every will of the Father. Even the will that kept the Teacher speechless, the Healer wounded, and the Redeemer condemned with the criminals.

The primacy of the purpose allowed Jesus to do whatever was needed in service the to Lord.

So what’s the point? Jesus.

The model Jesus gave is not one of saving souls, but of following the will of God. Did Jesus save? Yes. Has He called us to save? No.

“(Jesus speaking) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8, ESV

We are not called to save, we are called to witness. It is not on you to save your neighbor, your friend, or your co-worker. It is on you to do the will of the Father. And if you want fellowship with Jesus, He tells us exactly what is necessary.

“And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” –Matthew 12:49-50, ESV

Jesus’ purpose is to serve the Father. Fellowship with Him requires that you both be looking at the same thing. Release yourself from any self-imposed other purpose. Focus on doing the will of the Father. Jesus did exactly that, and only that. For it was from that sole purpose that everything else He did stemmed. Return to the sole purpose, and the chaos and clutter will fade away.

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For all posts related to The Jesus Project, click here.
Interested in the reference texts used? Click here for the references page.