April 22, 2015
Luke 4:18, 19; Isaiah 61:1, 2
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In today’s blog, I am including Luke 4:18 and 19 for our primary scriptures because Jesus in that scripture quoted Isaiah 61:1 and 2 in the Nazareth synagogue at the beginning of His ministry. Both scriptures combine for a great mission statement describing His work:
Luke 4:18, 19 – 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
preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Isaiah 61:1, 2 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has
anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
prison to those who are bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,
and the day of vengeance of our God….
We are on the fourth of Six Reasons for Jesus’ coming into this world:
• Luke 4:18 (Isaiah 61:1) – “…to preach deliverance to the captives….” Isaiah says “…to proclaim liberty to the captives…” which is pretty much the same thing. Who are the captives? Jesus identified who they are in John 8:34: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” Paul tells us in II Timothy 2:24 through 26 – as he describes the attributes of good minister: …a servant of the Lord must not quarrel; but be gentle to all, able to teach,
patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps
will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they
may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been
taken captive by him to do his will.
In Romans 8:15 Paul told believers, “…you did not receive the sprit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the [Holy] Spirit of adoption…” into God’s family. This implies before we were saved, we were in bondage to the spirit of this world – Satan!
Finally, the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 2:14 and 15 that Jesus became fully human, “…that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
The point is, when one is not under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, then that one is in slavery – imprisoned in bondage to sin! Jesus came “…to preach deliverance to the captives…”! And so powerful is His word (see Genesis 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3) that when He preaches something, it happens! We are set free by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ – free to live in righteousness, free from the devil’s control, free to enjoy eternal life!
• Luke 4:18 – “…to set at liberty those who are oppressed….” I believe the matching phrase in Isaiah 61:1 is “… and the opening of the prison to those who are bound….” Oppressed and bound ! It sure does not sound like a good way to live out our lives! We have quoted John 10:10 many times in other blogs, but it is so true: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” I sure want to live abundantly rather than in captivity to such a destructive thief !
But to live abundantly, there are certain disciplines I must develop to regularly include in my life. Five main ones are the Bible – letting “…the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16); Prayer – “…in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God…” (Philippians 4:6); Fellowship and worship together – “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25); Giving – “Give, and it shall be given to you…” (Luke 6:38); and Witnessing – “…be witnesses to…” Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). Yes, this is not necessarily easy to develop these disciplines. But they all are a small (and delightful) price to pay for being free from the bondage of slavery to sin!
We shall try to finish this study of Jesus’ mission statements from Luke 4:18 and 19 and Isaiah 61:1 and 2 on Friday.