The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim freedom to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the Day of vengeance of our God; to comfort those who mourn and to provide for all that grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.
According to my count there are 10 acts of goodness represented in the prophet's words:
Preach Good news to the poor (Hope)
Bind up the broken-hearted (Healing)
Freedom to the captives (Deliverance)
The opening of the prison to them that are bound (Grace)
To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Blessing and Salvation)
To proclaim the day of vengeance of our God (Justice)
To comfort and provide for those who mourn (Counsel)
Give a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Mercy)
Give the oil of joy instead of mourning (Strength)
Give a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Worship)
Believing that all this goodness is intended for us too is one of the great challenges of the faith. We wonder if we have somehow been disqualified, but God desires no one to be left out. We can shut ourselves off to God's goodness, but we cannot stop His reckless pursuit of us. The living God is a loving God.
Isaiah 61 is a kind of "marching orders" for us. The Spirit of the Living God wants to do these things for us and through us. We are proclaimers of life not death; hope not despair; blessing not poverty; strength not weakness; goodness not cruelty; and peace not violence.
Because the Spirit of the Living God Does These Things...