The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
– Isaiah 61:1-3
Imagine that a person had been captured and locked up in a dark prison cell for many years. They have been alone, hungry, mistreated and abused. They are dirty, sick and desperate and you are told that you get to be the one to tell them that they are finally going to be set free. Their captor has been defeated, their ransom paid. You get to walk in to that dark, scary place and fling wide the doors and windows and let air, wind and light into their lives again. You get to tell them their loved ones are waiting with a marvelous feast to celebrate their return and that the best doctors in the world will help them get cleaned up and recovered. You get to bring them fresh clothes, warm blankets and clean water. You will witness their utter joy, their weeping as the realization that they are finally free sets in. You get to be the one to celebrate with them. What a moment and what a privilege that would be.
We have this privilege at our fingertips all the time. The Lord has anointed us- anointed us like honored kings- to proclaim His good news. We have the immense pleasure and ability to bind up broken hearts and restore freedom to those who have been held captive in the darkness of sin. We get to shout to the world that all the grief, all the unbearable pain, all the miseries of the universe will break way to a glorious, beautiful redemption.
We get to declare that even the very worst evils will be undone by the Lion of Judah and that out of our deepest despair, unimaginable joy will rise.
Christian, you get to be the bearer of this sweet news. Stop acting like what the Lord has done for us is embarrassing. Stop trying to be subtle about it. You who were once captive are now free and you have been sent back into the places of captivity by your great Redeemer to let the other captives know that there is freedom for them too. Why be subtle and secretive about that? Why play games and try to sneak that into casual conversation? Why are we not shouting from our rooftops that we are free?
We don’t celebrate the privilege that it is to declare our freedom in Jesus Christ to others because we have forgotten what captivity was like. We have forgotten what being enslaved to sin and being without hope for a redeemed future felt like. We need to remind ourselves how utterly terrible that dark pit was so that we can, with renewed joy and boldness, sing and shout to others of the freedom we know in Jesus. He has sent us to bestow crowns on those in the ashes. What a beautiful calling He gives.