Response to the Messiah's Touch1
The work of Jesus in the lives of his people is transformational. It is holistic. It is missional. At Crosstown, we talk a lot about mission and missional living. We frequently hear the gospel proclaimed because we believe that gospel proclamation provides the content for missional living. Furthermore, scripture often highlights the reality that when we encounter experiential knowledge of the living God, we inevitably reflect our experience to those around us (See Mark 1:40-45; John 1:43-49; John 4:28-30; Acts 9:1-20). Isaiah 61 has been the most recent passage God has been using to unveil this missional paradigm to me.
Before reading the following section, I strongly encourage you to pause and read Isaiah 61:1-4. Did you see it? Look again at Isaiah 61:4.
Those who have been touched by the Messiah have a missional mandate - to rebuild and to restore. It is striking to me how matter of fact it is, as if there is no other option or result. Notice that this mandate does not stop at the individual person who experiences the liberating work of the Messiah (i.e., comfort, beauty, joy, praise). It extends to those around them. It is for the benefit of the individual and the surrounding people and places. Go back and read the references in the opening paragraph to see this unfold in each person who encountered the touch of Jesus. Also, this mandate is not limited to one moment in time. It is generational. The restoration of Jesus reaches in and restores generational ruin in individuals, in families, in cities, and in nations.
Proper application of any text begins with prioritizing our heart. This entails asking the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and lead us to the everlasting path (Ps. 139:23-24). Understanding our heart is vital in order to unpack the missional mandate of Isaiah 61:4.
If you have been united with Jesus, you are called an oak of righteousness. You are a planting of the Lord to display his splendor. Perhaps some reading this post need to start here. Some believers can’t recall the last time they experienced joy instead of mourning, or beauty instead of ashes. For some they still feel like a prisoner to sin. Shame, condemnation, and guilt are weights that keep many from realizing the reality of the transformational touch of Jesus as Isaiah 61:1-3 proclaims. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Reacquaint yourself with the identity that Jesus declares over you. Identify unbelief, confess it, and replace it with truth. Drink again of the rivers of delights that flow out of the presence of God.
Perhaps some are secure in their identity in Jesus, but find themselves bogged down with the immense gravity of Isaiah 61:4. How do we actually rebuild ruined cities and generational ruin? How do we begin? How do we measure progress?
Start by looking at your immediate context. For example, if you are a husband and father, how does God want you to rebuild and restore generational ruin in your family? Are there habitual things that you notice in your grandparents, parents, and children that need to be addressed? How will you lead and shepherd your wife and children with gospel emphasis? It is important to realize these questions should not focus on overcompensation for inadequate examples and models from our past or family line. The quest to employ generational restoration should lead us to surrender to the Messiah’s touch. Remember, it is out of the overflow of our freedom that we go about touching people and places around us with the freedom that we have received.
My prayer is that the truths of Isaiah 61:1-4 will have a reverberating impact on your life as it has mine. Return to this passage often to reflect and dive deeper into what God wants to stir within you. Ask him how he wants to liberate you and inaugurate his mandate to go about the restorative work of the Messiah in your neighborhood. In your city. In your state. In your country. In the world.
- Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 to see how Paul highlights a missional thread of experiential comfort.
- Meditate on Isaiah 61:1-3. Take time to thank God for the ways he has specifically demonstrated the reality of these verses in your life. Praise him for redefining your identity in Christ Jesus. (You may even need to take extra time to search for passages that specifically define your identity in Christ Jesus.)
- Consider ways in which God might want to use you to go about rebuilding and restoring generational ruin in your contexts (i.e., family, neighborhood, city, state, country, world).