Between God’s sending of Abram in Genesis 12, to the sending of His angel “to show what must soon take place” in Revelation 22, there are literally hundreds of examples of God as a sending God. Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of sending in the Old Testament is found in Isaiah 6. In this passage you catch a glimpse of God’s sending nature, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’” To which Isaiah responds, “Here I am! Send me” (6:8).
Later in the book of Isaiah there is a fascinating passage where the Prophet recognizes that God’s Spirit has anointed him to “preach good news to the poor” and that he is sent to “bind up the brokenhearted” (61:1). In the larger passage of Isaiah 61:1-3 it is interesting to note that there is no less than eight redemptive deeds that proceed from, or are dependent on the verb “sent” or “He has sent me.” To emphasize the centrality of the sending theme, the passage could be render this way:
He has sent me, to bind up the brokenhearted,
He has sent me, to proclaim freedom for the captives,
He has sent me, to release from darkness the prisoners,
He has sent me, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
He has sent me, to comfort all who mourn,
He has sent me, to provide for those who grieve in Zion –
He has sent me, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
He has sent me, to bestow the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
He has sent me, to bestow the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (61:1-3)
If this passage is familiar it may be because Jesus applies it to his own ministry in Luke 4:18-19 as he claims to be the fleshly embodiment of Isaiah 61:1-2. It becomes in a sense the closet thing to a personal mission statement for Jesus.