By Elizabeth Pennington.
When Jesus walked on earth, God’s chosen people had been suffering affliction and oppression for centuries. Under the trauma of first Assyrian and Babylonian, then Greek, and finally Roman rule, the Jews lived in uncertainty and instability, waiting for the promised Rescuer to enter their world and transform their lives.
In Luke 4, the Rescuer announces himself by quoting the promise from Isaiah 61. Every ear was captivated; every eye was on the humble carpenter standing before them in the temple as he read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In these verses, the Rescuer is announcing himself—he is the one anointed by the Spirit of God to bring hope, healing, and transformation.
Jesus is the one anointed by the Spirit of God to bring hope, healing, and transformation.”
The prophecy of Isaiah 53:4-5 explains how the Rescuer would take the suffering and redeem the lost:
“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus came to take the full effect of sin on himself, to bear for us the burden left by sin. He did not just pull us out of our suffering. He lived it for us. Overcoming the eternal captivity of death, the resurrection of Jesus demonstrates the power of God to conquer the hopeless condition of man and restore creation to the original, glorious, design.
Jesus did not just pull us out of our suffering. He lived it for us.”
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are the foundation for our hope. Jesus is the answer to all of life’s struggles. The love of God is the power accessed by Jesus and applied through the Spirit.
Working in a helping profession—whether as an adoptive parent, a social worker, a pastor, or another role—we daily encounter those who are waiting to be rescued. Living on the street, in an orphanage, or even in a loving home, we encounter lost souls, suffering under the brokenness of a sinful world.
For most of us, we have entered these roles of caring for the hurting because we want to see the broken healed and restored. We can be encouraged during this resurrection season with this confidence: the annointing of the Spirit empowers us to connect the waiting with the power of the Rescuer, who binds up the broken-hearted, declares freedom for the captives, and rebuilds the brokenness of generations (Ps 147:3, Isaiah 61:1). I caution us to remember that we are not the rescuer—we are the conduit by which the Spirit tangibly expresses the love and power of the one and only true Rescuer.
We are not the rescuer—we are the conduit by which the Spirit tangibly expresses the love and power of the one and only true Rescuer.”
This is my prayer at Easter and throughout the year: “Jesus, when I look into the eyes for the hurting, may they see your eyes looking back at them, full of unconditional love and confident assurance.”
Elizabeth Pennington, MA, LPC-Intern, is a professional counselor working with adults, adolescents, children and families, at Apollos Center for Healing and Growth, a ministry of Fairfield Baptist Church in Cypress, Texas. She specializes in treating trauma and attachment related difficulties. She uses play therapy and EMDR with a biblically integrated approach. A mother to 8 children through birth and adoption, Elizabeth has been working with foster and adoptive families for over 15 years, and she was among those who helped launch Hope for Orphans in 2001. In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities with her children including hiking, camping, and kayaking.