Isaiah 61 is a beautiful pronouncement about the ministry of the coming Messiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

This is also the text, incidentally, that Jesus Himself chose to read when he was invited to speak at the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. The incident, recorded for us in Luke 4, was Jesus’ pronouncement of the beginning of His ministry. The crowd that day in Nazareth would have known the text well, and they would have known what it meant. The servant described in the book of Isaiah was the one for whom they had waited for so long - He was the chosen One, sent to do all the things the text tells us. To proclaim the good news. To bind up the brokenhearted. To proclaim freedom and release prisoners. So you can imagine the thrum of excitement that went through the crowd when Jesus rolled up the scroll and made the simple pronouncement:

“No more waiting. The time is now. Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” (Luke 4:21).

Today when we read those words, we not only see Jesus in them; we see ourselves. We are the poor and brokenhearted, disillusioned with the things of the world. We are the prisoners, held captive by our own sin. We are those ready to receive the Lord’s favor for us in the good news of the gospel. And what happens to us when we do receive and believe that good news? The answer is in the last verse:

We become oaks of righteousness.

Now why would that be the metaphor the Bible uses to describe those who believe the gospel and follow the chosen Messiah? It’s because the oak is strong. It is enduring. It stands the test of time and withstands the elements. It produces good fruit and is where others find shade and rest. This is who we are to become as disciples of Jesus.

But that begs a convicting question for us as church leaders - is this what we are helping form? Is our manner of making disciples producing oaks? Enduring followers? Strong and stable worshippers? Disciples that are able to withstand the cultural and circumstantial elements?

Are we producing oaks, or are we producing something else? Like popsicles?

Now everybody likes a popsicle. Like the oak, it can provide some relief on a hot day. And in truth people might appreciate the immediate gratification more from a popsicle than an oak tree. After all, oak trees aren’t formed overnight; it takes years and years to produce that kind of strong, enduring tree. But a popsicle? Well, you just open the package and enjoy.

Thing is, though, a popsicle melts. It has no sustaining power. In fact, you have to actually enjoy it quickly because you know as soon as it’s exposed to the elements it’s not going to be there much longer.

The sad truth is most of our ministries are more geared toward the quick fix. The immediate behavior change. The fast pathway. We don't have the patience and perseverance to actually help grow something sustainable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At the Rooted Network, we want to help you know, understand, and integrate a simple and sustainable discipleship pathway that is geared for the long road. Below, you will find a link to register for What is Rooted?, a free webinar where you will learn what makes Rooted uniquely powerful as a tool for enduring discipleship and how you can begin utilizing Rooted in your church. You will also find a link to download a free sample of the Rooted Workbook. We look forward to serving you and helping you produce oaks of righteousness in your congregation.

What is Rooted? is a free 1-hour webinar that will help you learn how to connect the people in your congregation to God, your church, and their purpose. Discover how to facilitate this connection in a rhythmic and experiential way through the implementation of the Rooted Experience.


The Rooted Workbook guides participants through the 10-week Rooted Experience, studying and experiencing the 7 rhythms of a disciple and challenging each person to step beyond their comfort zone as they follow Jesus.

Download a free sample of the Rooted Workbook.