Bible Reading: Luke 4:16-30
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:16-19)
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He went to preach in the synagogues on the Sabbath. All the Jews listened intently to what Jesus had to say because He had already built for Himself a respected reputation. Jesus opened the scroll and read out the opening of Isaiah 61.
Through the words of the prophet, Jesus made clear His purpose for coming to earth. He came to proclaim good news to the poor, liberate the captives, give sight to the blind, free those who were oppressed and proclaim God’s favour. Jesus spoke in both the physical and spiritual sense. So far, it seems so good, and the Jews appeared to be pleased with what Jesus said “and all spoke well of Him”.
But Jesus knew the hearts of His listeners. He knew that they were not going to submit to Him as Lord and Master. Instead, they only wanted His miracles so that their town would become a better place and that everyone would see them with a good reputation.
Jesus then tells of a provoking truth. There were many suffering widows in Israel hit by famine in Elijah’s days, but God sent Elijah to a widow in the foreign land of Sidon. Also, there were many suffering lepers in Israel during the time of prophet Elisha. But, nobody was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.
Upon hearing this, the Jews in the synagogue were enraged and attempted to stone Jesus to death. Jesus slipped away because His time had not yet come.
What is our response when we hear about Jesus? Are we like the Jews who think they are privileged, belonging to God’s people? Do we take growing up Christian as something we boast? Jesus did not come to save those who were proud and self-conceited. Instead, Jesus preached in their face that He would serve the lowly so that their own response would make it clear that they were to be condemned.
On the other hand, Jesus came to give good news to the poor. Jesus reached out to beggars, blind men, lepers, widows, prostitutes, tax collectors, and many other sinful and socially rejected people. Jesus came for the broken-hearted, those who knew of their sins and knew that they needed a Saviour. He came to comfort the lowly and exalt the humble. To the lowly, like the samaritan woman at the well or the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus revealed His mercy. To the proud and upright Jews, Jesus rebuked them again and again, yet they would never listen.
All people are sinners before God. Will we humble ourselves before God and confess that we are broken and in need of a saviour?
Lord, thank You for Your mercy to those who are humble and lowly. Please forgive us, for we are full of sin. We are broken, and we need You. Win our hearts, Lord, and help us to believe and trust in You alone. Who are we to receive Your grace? Teach us to humbly remember Your love for us always. In Jesus’ name, amen.