By Rosetta Thomas
Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, Prophet Isaiah spoke about His divine mandate. Accordingly, we are told in Isaiah 61: 1-3:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
It is interesting to note that Jesus read and affirmed that this passage of scripture had been fulfilled in his life (Luke 4:21) and just before the dispensation of time he was given to operate physically on the earth came to an end, “he said, It is finished” [John 19:30], meaning that his assignment has been completed. To top this all off, three days after his death, he rose, signaling the ultimate victory. Essentially, He came, carried out his assignment within his allotted time, completed it and ultimately ascended to be with his father.
We have been given a dispensation of time to live on the earth and among the purposes we are called to fulfil, one is to carry out the same mandate that Jesus was entrusted. Accordingly, in Matthew 28:18-20, He stated:
“… All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20) (KJV)
Anointed for the assignment
I must first establish that this mission is not far-fetched because it is one for which we are empowered to perform. Essentially, the Bible says: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; Because the Lord has anointed me to….” (Isaiah 61:3) meaning that we are anointed for the mandate.
The truth is that when it comes to the work of God, we will never be able to effectively do it by our might or our strength but rather by the spirit of God. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a person, they are empowered for service. When David was anointed by Samuel for example, his life was transformed, and he was never the same. Additionally, when the spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, he became “another man” (1 Samuels 10:6) and began to prophesy. No one who encounters the spirit of God remains the same, and when it comes to the mandate of the Lord, we can do even more than what our minds can conceive because as Jesus himself said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)
So, we have established that Jesus came to earth on a mission, carried out that mission and gave and empowered us to carry out the same mandate in the dispensation of time that we have been given. But what exactly does this mission entails? In answering this question, I will briefly look at a few of the aspects of the mission.
The elements of the mission:
1. Preach good tidings unto the meek.
The first element of this great mission is to preach the undiluted Word of God to the lost. Jesus did not come for the righteous, but he came for sinners and so the world as we know it is ripe for evangelistic harvest. First and foremost, a large majority of people across the world have heard the gospel and many who have heard, have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and personal Saviour. In the 2010 edition of the Book Operation World, it was stated that some key areas unreached with the gospel are as follows:
- In the Arab World – 64.4%
- In East Asia – 43.4%
- In Iran and surrounding areas – 91.6%
- Among the Jews – 97%
- South Asia – 88.6%
- South East Asia – 73.5%
- Tibet and Himalayan Areas – 55.7%
- Turkish Area: 81.7%
If indeed there is really a hell to shun and a heaven to gain as we have come to believe in our Christian faith, then these statistics should make us uncomfortable.
Secondly, it must be noted that there is a need for people to have the fear of God in their lives and people cannot have the fear of God without conviction, and conviction cannot come unless people hear the Word of God. Today God is looking for men and women who will be a voice in the wilderness of the world, to cry out to the hearts of men to prepare the way of the Lord and to make their paths straight. The extent to which the nations of the world fear God rest in the hands of you and I whom God is counting on to make ourselves available for that task during the dispensation of time that we have been given.
2. Bind up the brokenhearted
The next aspect of the mandate is to bind up the broken-hearted. We live in a world where many people are heart broken from the issues of life such as loss, failure, and setbacks. In addition, when the longing of a person’s heart is not fulfilled, they can become hopeless, and this hopelessness can lead to mental health challenges including suicide. Jesus however had such persons in mind when He was on the cross. That woman who is grieving after a failed marriage is so important to God that if she alone was in this world, Jesus would still go to the cross on her behalf. He came to bind up the broken hearted and you and I are anointed to do the same thing. God is depending on us to apply His healing balm and to restore hope in the life of such persons. In Job’s state of desperation, he rightly stated that a tree that is cut down, has hope that with the scent of water, it can spring again (Job 14:7-9). I submit to you that if a tree which has no soul, has hope, then no matter what state of brokenness a person is in, there is hope for them. Jesus is no longer on the earth physically so who will bring that message of hope to the broken hearted? Who will reach out to people who have become dry bones in the valley to let them know that they can receive life in their dead situations? It is you and I and we are anointed for the task.
3. Proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
The other element of the mandate is to preach deliverance to those in captivity and to open the prison to them that are in bondage. Lots of people have found themselves in some very serious situations and they need to be loosed. People are bound to drugs, prostitution, varying forms of sexual perversions, mental illnesses among others. But who will loose them? There is a mentally ill man or woman on the street that need to be set free from their captivity, there is a lady of the night who need to be set free from that spirit of perversion controlling her life and there is someone oppressed by gender confusion that need to know the way of the Lord and make their paths straight.
The task may seem insurmountable, but Lazarus was completely dead and buried, becoming a captive of the grave yet Jesus came and called him back to life.
The same power that Jesus used to raise Lazarus is operating in you and I today, and so God is God is depending on us to deliver people out of their strongholds, no matter the depth. Even if people consciously walk into captivity, we can stand on the Word of God which states that the lawful captives shall be delivered (Isaiah 49: 25).
On a different note, some people are not in spiritual graves, but they are bound by spiritual grave clothes and they need to be released so that they can maximize their fullest potentials. Lazarus was brought back to life, but he could not do anything until the grave clothes were removed. Many persons are in a similar situation, where they are wrapped in all kinds of baggage from head to foot. The good news is that you and I are not only mandated to loosen them, but we also have what it takes to do it beyond measure.
4. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.
Another element of the assignment is to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and to comfort those who mourn. The “acceptable year of the Lord” is also the “day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2). It is a time when God will rescue and deliver his people from their affliction and bring judgment on His enemies:
“Thus says the LORD: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages’” – Isaiah 49:8 (NKJV)
When Haman wanted to eradicate the Jews, God delivered his people from his hands and gave them a victorious ending. When Sennacherib revolted against the people of God and there seemed to be no hope, he was brought to shame and destruction. God want to execute his vengeance, vindicate his people, and bring forth restitution to those who call upon his name, but He need available vessels. Will you and I be a Moses, a Joshua, a David, and a Samuel who can be the instrument of righteousness in the hand of a holy God to set his people free?
Are we fulfilling the mandate?
Having briefly looked at some of the element of the divine mandate, we need to examine ourselves to see to what extent we are fulfilling our assignments. GOD has already empowered us and the same spirit which raised Jesus from the dead is operating in us and is at our disposal to do everything God has called us to do. Jesus will not leave Heaven to do what He has committed in our hands. He has given us the assignment, the tool to carry it out (the anointing), and he has given us a dispensation of time to fulfil that mandate.
But in our dispensation:
- To what extent do we preach good tidings unto the meek?
- To what extent do we preach deliverance to the captives and bring spiritual and physical sight to the blind?
- To what extent do we proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God?
- And to what extent do we comfort those who are mourning?
No one knows when their time will expire, but sure enough, we do not have forever on our hands. Our dispensation of time is but a dash which lies between a start date and an end date. As for the end date, we may not know until our dispensation of time actually comes to an end, but while we are still dashing, let us endeavour to use our time to fulfil the divine mandate that we have been given.
Let us preach good tidings unto the meek. Let us bind up the brokenhearted. Let us proclaim liberty to the captives and let us open the prison to them that are bound. Furthermore, let us proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God and let us do all we can to comfort all that mourn.
Sure enough, the day will come when we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of all that we have done in this life including how well we carry out the mandate we have been entrusted within our dash.
Let us therefore run well and embrace every aspect of our divine mandate so that just like Jesus, at the end of our dispensation on earth, we can all say: it is finished.
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