“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)
In His ministry, Jesus taught about the Kingdom which He came to initiate, establish and draw people into: a Kingdom where justice ultimately prevails. On this Sabbath day, within the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus shows how He is fulfilling the prophet Isaiah’s description of the Messiah (Isaiah 61:1-2).
We read here how Jesus has been anointed by the Spirit to proclaim a number of different truths:
Jesus proclaims good news to the poor. This good news is the beautiful truth of salvation- which encompasses grace and power- that Jesus offered to the spiritually poor and open-hearted. God acknowledges the worth of the poor, and sees their vulnerability and their willing acceptance of Him.
Jesus proclaims freedom for the prisoners. He came to reach out to the people who feel captive in the darkness of this world, who feel held bound by the pain of exploitation- Jesus came to tell them of the beautiful release He offers them, even in the midst of their trial.
Jesus proclaims recovery for the sight of the blind. He came to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, to show them the treasures and worth of life from His perspective.
Jesus proclaims to set the oppressed free. He came to liberate the spiritually burdened – to allow them to overcome the physical challenges of their life, so that it does not receive the undeserved attention so many give it.
We live in a time of unrest, an era of brokenness, pain and discrimination. But we serve a God who moves towards such things, who proclaims and offers freedom, healing and hope for the poor, the hurt and the marginalised.
And He gives us the power to pursue reformation for such things and enables us to be agents of healing for people, where we can move towards them in support, faithfulness and care.
Lastly Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour. He came to bring spiritual, beautiful and powerfully satisfying life to those who follow his ministry. Jesus comes to show us that we can enter into relationship with our Creator. But ultimately Jesus proclaimed that God would have His year of favour (vs.19), in which He will restore righteousness- what a glorious and gracious year this will be. He is Sovereign and He is Just, and we can trust in His compassion and faithfulness extended to us.
Who do you know who is ‘harassed and helpless’ (Matt 9:36)? Would you ask God that He might give you the courage and wisdom, as He did his disciples, to be an agent of healing and life to the full for that person- as you cultivate attributes of eternal value, celebrating and acknowledging one another for the worth that each of us holds.