Posted by: missionventureministries | June 21, 2018

JESUS PREACHES IN THE SYNAGOGUE IN NAZARETH – Luke 4:18-19

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

The Lord read this beautiful verse written by the prophet Isaiah referring to Himself, preaching from it in the synagogue in Nazareth and proclaiming: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). Note that He came to preach the gospel to the humble and not the proud. 

He also came to set the captives free. This reminds us of the year of Jubilee spoken of in Leviticus 25 and is defined as the sabbatical year after seven cycles of seven years (49 years). The fiftieth year was to be a time of celebration and rejoicing for the Israelites. 

The Year of the Jubilee involved a year of release from indebtedness (Leviticus 25:23-38) and all types of bondage (vv. 39-55). All prisoners and captives were set free, all slaves were released, all debts were forgiven, and all property was returned to its original owners. In addition, all labor was to cease for one year, and those bound by contract were released from them. One of the benefits of the Jubilee was that both the land and the people were able to rest. 

The Jubilee presents a beautiful picture of the New Testament themes of redemption and forgiveness. Christ is the Redeemer who came to set free those who are slaves and prisoners to sin – “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). 

The debt of sin we owe to God was paid on the cross as Jesus died on our behalf – “When you were dead in your transgressions and the un-circumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14), and we are forgiven the debt forever. We are no longer in bondage, no longer slaves to sin, and having been freed by Christ we can truly enter the rest God provides. 

When Christ quoted “opening of the prison”, He actually expanded and interpreted it as follows: “And recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). 

The “prison” that Christ came to open is evidently a spiritual prison, a blinding of the mind. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36), and free from the bondage of sin translates to us becoming “a royal priesthood…a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). 

Opening of the prison to those who are bound also had an additional meaning because after His crucifixion, while His body was in the tomb, His spirit descended into Hades where the spirits of all who had died in faith were awaiting Him, and “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and . . . ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:8, 10). 

The good news is that we are still in the “favorable year of the Lord;” it 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 decide that we are going to serve Him, praise Him, worship Him, honor Him, seek Him and obey Him for the rest of our life. 

Jesus has anointed us to be His ambassador, indwelled by the Spirit to bring the message of good news, as we help fulfill Christ’s great commission. The gospel is being preached to the poor, the blind are seeing, and the captives are being set free. Will you believe, receive and be set free?

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