Recently there was a question on the game show, Jeopardy that went something like this: “The Greek, Agio Pneuma, was translated by the King James Bible unnervingly as this.” One of the contestants, recognizing the root of pneumonia, guessed the answer to be, “lung disease.” Actually, the answer was, “Holy Ghost.”
The spirit of the Lord in both Greek and Hebrew can also be translated as “breath” or “wind.” God’s spirit, then, is the thing living within us that we cannot live without. No breath, no life. No spirit, no life. It seems, whether we intend it or not, there is no life outside of God’s spirit. When Isaiah claims God’s spirit, he is claiming life itself – a life filled with hope, freedom, deliverance, comfort, joy, and praise.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.