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The Holy Spirit and the Ministries of Jesus

After the conquest or resettlement of Canaan by the descendants of the Jews who left Egypt and the chaotic ups and downs of the time of the Judges, the people want a king. Samuel, the final judge, is not happy about this; however, the people get what they want. Saul, the Son of Kish, is chosen and not only begins to prophesy when he meets a band of prophets but is for a time changed into a different man. Later, controlled by another spirit, Saul tries to kill David, son of Jesse, out of jealousy. He refuses to wait for Samuel to carry out a sacrifice, and fails to terminate the Amalekites. Ultimately, Saul and his sons die in a battle against the Philistines.

Christ healing the blind man, by Andrei N. Mironov (2009).

While mourning Saul’s failures, Samuel is sent by God to Jesse in order to quietly anoint the next ruler of Israel. As the sons parade by Samuel, God keeps saying no. When Samuel finds out there is one more candidate, a boy named David, who had been minding the sheep, he has Jesse get the boy. Then God tells Samuel that David is the right one. Samuel takes the horn of oil and anoints David. From that day on, the Spirit of God comes on David in power. In seventeen years, David will finally become king of all Israel. Though far from perfect, David is the best king or anointed one of God for over a thousand years. After he sins with Bathsheba and kills her husband, David prays, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Ps. 51:11–12). Late in life, David says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue” (1Sam. 23:2). Many kings of Israel or Judah fell far short of David, who was a man after God’s heart.

Returning to Isaiah, chapter 42, we find the first of the Servant Songs. It seems to be describing a special servant of Yahweh, rather than the nation as a whole. With pride, God says: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations” (Isa. 42:1). We hear this very passage again in the voice of the Father at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration. The servant of Yahweh will neither cry out loudly in the streets nor deal harshly with those who are weak and wounded, bruised, easily snapped reeds, or smoldering wicks, whose light and heat are almost extinguished. Indeed, Jesus expresses his care for the poor, marginalized, and wounded of first-century Palestine. As the suffering servant passage in Isaiah 52–53 shows, the servant would go meekly, like a voiceless lamb, to his death. This death would set us free from guilt, condemnation, shame, and our infirmities. Indeed, these passages are so serious, so grim, that few Jews think of associating them with the Messiah, whom they expect to be a victorious, military, political king like David.

Chief among the passages from Isaiah, which are applicable to Jesus, is the one that he chooses to read in his hometown synagogue. This occurs shortly after he is baptized by his cousin John and is tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4:16–20). Luke records his reading as “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” In Isaiah 61, we read further: “. . . 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 gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isa. 61:1–3). Jesus shocks his audience when he sits down to preach and then says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!” In other words, Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one of God, the expected king. Jesus’ surprised listeners are not only unable to square his statement with their memories of the carpenter’s son, but they also fulfill Jesus’ statement that a prophet will not be accepted in his hometown. They try to kill him after he speaks about God helping Gentiles instead of his own people. The fulfillment of Isaiah 61 might not only involve changes in the situation of poor, sick, and marginalized people in Judea (as a result of alterations in government, laws, institutions, and parties) but also involve an interior change in people as they develop a personal relationship with the Messiah, are healed physically and emotionally, and then live new lives. Though Isaiah didn’t know anything about inner healing of past wounds, the passage is certainly relevant to those involved in such ministry. Jesus is the one anointed to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2016

About the Author: Peter Ostrander, Ph.D. (Penn State University, 1970), taught physics at Penn State, Fayette for 33 years. In 1973 he made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit one year later during the charismatic renewal. He pursued studies at Trinity School for Ministry and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1986. For 21 years, he served St. George’s Episcopal Church in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania as their Vicar. Peter grew interested in healing ministry, joined the Order of Saint Luke, and started a chapter South of Pittsburgh. He presented workshops at regional meetings, then retired from Penn State and served 6 years as Director of Region 2, attended national meetings and wrote articles for Sharing Magazine. Because Peter wanted OSL to remain true to the Holy Scriptures and the example of the early Church, he wrote New Testament Healing (Xulon Press, 2011). Peter has also served as a board member for the Healing Center at Shrine Mont and has been active in healing at Servant Song Ministries, a retreat center in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

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