The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…
I. Let us notice that JESUS CHRIST BEGAN HIS WORK IN NAZARETH WITH A QUOTATION FROM THE BIBLE. The source of all Christian power is in "preaching the Word."
II. It is well to keep in mind that WE HAVE A MUCH LARGER BIBLE THAN JESUS HAD. We have the New Testament as well as the Old Testament: what He spoke as well as what He expounded. It is not what we say about the truth that helps and saves souls, but the truth.
III. When people come to us for help, the thing to do is simply to FIND SOMETHING IN THE WORD FOR THEM.
IV. CURIOUS AND DIFFICULT QUESTIONS THAT CHRISTIANS ASK HAVE THE SIMPLEST SORT OF ANSWERS IN THE WORD. AS to grounding our hope firmly, Matthew 7:24 is better than anything we can say ourselves. To encourage a man who fears ridicule, Mark 10:48 is excellent and effective. Exodus 2:1-10 is a far better illustration of God's care for children than that stock story of the "little child in the corn-field." Once a member of our Church came to me to ask what she ought to try to look at when she shut her eyes in prayer. And all I could think of was to read her two or three verses about Bartimaeus. A smile ran over her whole face as she rose suddenly, and said, "Good morning." Then I asked whether her question had got the answer. "Oh, yes"! she replied, gratefully; "I ought to see what the blind man did before his eyes were opened; he saw he was blind, and he seemed to see Jesus there waiting to be prayed to."
V. WE MUST BE EXCEEDINGLY FAMILIAR WITH GOD'S WORD in order to use it skilfully. The times arrive often very suddenly in which we are called to make answer or to give advice; and to work powerfully one must work ingeniously. The gifted authoress of "English Hands and Hearts" once saw a man close by the brink of a river, and believed he was going to commit suicide. It seemed perfectly clear to her that if she should appear to suspect his purpose, he would avoid her, and wait till she passed out of sight. So she quietly kept on her walk, but, as it approached the spot where he was watching, she said aloud, as if just to herself, Psalm 46:4. It was all she could do. Two years afterwards a speaker in Exeter Hall related the incident in his own sad life, and told how the text saved him and converted him, and now he added the wish that he might some time know the Christian woman who had done him the favour. So they met and clasped hands, and thanked God together. But how did she happen to know the right verse, then? Such a thing did not happen: that lady knew her Bible thoroughly.
VI. We should be PATIENT ANY HELPFUL IS INSTRUCTING OTHERS how and where to find the proper passages for Christian effort.
VII. We can find here the EXPLANATION WE SEEK FOR SOME FAILURES that appear so mysterious, AND FOR SOME SUCCESSES that are so admirable. Those Christians have done most service who have in every instance trusted the Word for the power of the truth in it. Dr. James W. Alexander put in one of his letters, near the end of his career, the statement that, if he were to live his public life over again, he would dwell more upon the familiar parts and passages of the Bible, like the story of the ark, the draught of fishes, or the parable of the prodigal son. That is, he would preach more of the Word of God in its pure, clear utterances of truth for souls. When the saintly Dr. Cutler of Brooklyn died, the Sunday School remembered that he used to come in every now and then during the years of his history and repeat just a single verse from the superintendent's desk; and the next Lord's Day after the funeral they marched up in front of it in a long line, and each scholar quoted any of the texts that he could recollect. The grown people positively sat there and wept, as they saw how much there was of the Bible in the hearts of their children which this one pastor had planted. Yet he was a very timid and old-fashioned man; he said he had no gift at talking to children; he could only repeat God's Word. Is there anybody now who is ready to say that was not enough for some good?
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
WEB: "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 heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,