“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 downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Luke 4: 18, 19

 

Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61: 1,2) during this time of teaching in His own hometown of Nazareth, and the Lord is stating a primary purpose for His time on earth. Everyone is poor; all are held captive; blindness is rampant; and the oppressed and their oppressors all need the sort of status and position of strength that can only come from God, Himself. Jesus wanted His entire world to hear and to understand that their freedom, their year of Jubilee, was at hand. Yet, most of them didn’t listen and embrace their freedom.

 

The voice of Christ continues to speak this same message of future hope and of present joy through deliverance, and we are faced with the same decisions that people in Isaiah’s and in Jesus’ times had to consider. We can continue to hold onto the things in our lives that seem to give us comfort and power but actually rob us blind; therefore, we can remain in our impoverished and sightless condition, or we can trust Christ to the depths of our hearts and allow that everything that we surrender to Him will be replaced by something much greater. The hardest aspect of this personally is that I don’t get to define or to choose exactly how and what God will do in my life. He simply wants me to accept His reality and to trust Him with it all. Thus, the Lord tells me to open my hands, let go, and be healed.

 

This all sounds so simple; yet, it is among the hardest things that most of us can entertain. It involves deep and very personal exposure of self to God, and we are required to start to walk the tightrope of life without our well-established safety net of comfort and habit. Yet, soaring across the heights in the arms of God is exhilarating, and walking out of the bondage that sin has wound around the heart, even if today’s journey is for only a step or two, is the sort of freedom that provides us with an insatiable taste for more of the same. So, let us enter into the peace and the rest for the spirit that Christ describes and celebrate the coming of the Year of the Lord.