Posted by: missionventureministries | October 21, 2012

JESUS TEACHES ON THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR – Luke 4:18-19

Jesus returns to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and goes to Nazareth where He had been brought up. He has been away for quite some time and on the Sabbath day He went to the synagogue, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) 

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He told them, “Today you heard this scripture being fulfilled.” All the scriptures of the Old Testament must be fulfilled in the Messiah, as Jesus tells them after His resurrection: “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44) 

Luke records that Jesus stands to read as it was the custom in honor of God’s word and sits to give the explanation of what He just read and said of Himself.  

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me – In the context of Isaiah’s original prophecy, declared many hundreds of years before Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah was spoken of and had been eagerly expected and Jesus’ audience immediately understood Him to be applying the prophecy to Himself. He stopped reading, before the end of Isaiah’s prophetic words about the day of vengeance. That time is still in the future when Jesus will return as King. 

When Jesus read the ancient Hebrew words, His utterance of the word mashach, “anointed,” must have caused astonishment. Mashach is the root word of Mashiach, “Messiah.” When Jesus finally declares, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21), there must have been a moment of amazement in the congregation.   

To preach the gospel to the poor  – Jesus is referring here to “the poor in spirit,” the differentiation between the humble in contrast to the proud as He refers to them in the Sermon on the Mount – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). A humble person is much more apt to listen to Jesus’ word as are the proud.  

We are to follow Jesus’ example and teach the gospel to the poor; to declare the good news, to evangelize, to teach about Jesus and salvation. Poor in this context is anyone who doesn’t know the riches of life in Christ. 

He has sent Me to heal the brokenheartedIsaiah had prophesied what Jesus would be doing, He was sent to heal the brokenhearted, just as God had stated: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) 

People that are brokenhearted by their sin and are truly humbled in repentance will find healing when they accept, believe and confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We are to minister to the brokenhearted and point them to Jesus for their healing. 

Proclaim liberty to the captives – In Acts 10:38 we read “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed (captive) by the devil, for God was with Him.” 

Jesus came to set people free. The freedom He is speaking of is from the imprisonment of bad habits, physical addiction, the lust for money and the ways of the world. Freedom received by a humble heart in contrast to a prideful heart is like the one found in the parable Jesus teaches about the Pharisee and the tax collector. (Luke 18:9-14) 

And recovery of sight to the blind  – Jesus did many miracles and healed many blind people, He even opened the eyes of one blind from birth, but here He is speaking of spiritual blindness as he states in John 9:39 “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Jesus meant by this that the Pharisees who could see became blind to the truths of His teaching because of their pride and unbelief. 

As believers we should follow Jesus’ example and seek to open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind, with the truths of God’s word. 

To set at liberty those who are oppressedMany people in Jesus’ day were oppressed and many took advantage of widows and orphans. They also were oppressed by taxation. Things have not changed in nearly 2000 years, however, Jesus said: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. –  In the context of Isaiah 61:1-2, it seems to refer to the Year of Jubilee that occurred every 50 years. In that year all Hebrew slaves who may have been enslaved due to debt were set free. Land that had been sold to another reverted to its ancestral owner (Leviticus 25:8-13). Isaiah’s prophecy is exactly what Jesus came for to set the captives free.

As we continue reading Isaiah 61, he is also declaring the coming of the Messiah at the end of the age to usher in a period of unparalleled freedom and wholeness. Righteousness will triumph over oppression, and the unrighteous will suffer severe retribution and justice from God. 

When we think on this passage we realize that as Messiah’s followers we need to tell others about Jesus, and in doing so, we too are declaring that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) 

The acceptable year of the Lord is the year when we are restored and set free. It is the year when we accept Jesus as our Messiah and acknowledge the need for a Savior and the acceptance that we are going to serve Him, praise Him, worship Him, honor Him, seek Him and obey Him for the rest of our life.

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