April 27, 2015
Luke 4:18, 19; Isaiah 61:1, 2
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Two blogs ago, I wrote, “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.” Well, I didn’t finish on Friday, but I will try to conclude today! Here are our two scriptures under consideration:
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….
• In Luke 4:19 Jesus closed His mission statement with “…to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” What did He mean by “… the acceptable year of the Lord…”? Paul sheds light on it by what He wrote in II Corinthians 6:2:
For He [God] says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the
day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
Paul is quoting from Isaiah 49:8 which says, “Thus says the LORD: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You….’ ” Since You is capitalized, it means the Father is telling the Son that He will give Him a people and a creation over which to rule. The setting for this Isaiah 49 passage is the Millennium in which Jesus “…will rule all nations with a rod of iron…” (Revelation 12:5) in a benevolent rule over the world from which the curse has been lifted (see Genesis 3:14-19; Romans 8:20-23).
But Paul emphasizes in II Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” This is because now God is preparing us to “…reign with Him…” in that Millennium (Revelation 20:6). It is also “…the accepted time…the day of salvation…” because we are called to salvation now! As James wrote in James 4:13 through 15:
Come now, you who say, “Today or to morrow we will go to such and such
a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do
not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a
vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you
ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
We do not know the day our life will end, or how! Don’t be called a “fool ” (see Luke 12:15-21) and not be ready for the day when you are called from this life to stand before God!
All this to say, “…the acceptable year of the Lord…” (Luke 4:19) is this time that is known as ‘The Church Age’ or ‘The Age of Grace’. It is the acceptable time to reach out to Jesus Christ and be saved!
But Jesus was quoting Isaiah 61:2 in Luke 4:19, and the Isaiah passage continues on to say, “…and the day of vengeance of our God….” Why did not the Lord quote that part also? It is because “the day of vengeance of our God ” belongs to Jesus’ Second Advent – when He comes as King and Judge! Then “the acceptable year of the Lord ” will be closed! If you are not saved when you see Him return, you will only be judged in and for your sins! Because, as Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:7, salvation is “…by faith, not by sight.”
In the Old Testament, both advents of the Lord Jesus Christ are often in view, but not distinguished as separate events. As in Isaiah 61:2, the Church Age is separated by a comma! And the Church Age has gone on for almost two thousand years now – since Pentecost! It will last until the Church is taken from the earth in the rapture! (See I Corinthians 15:51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Luke 4:18 and 19 is perhaps the most complete mission statement that describes the ministry of Jesus Christ. But there are still more to come!