As we ponder the life of Jesus, a host of concerns await us. For this reflection, I’d like to look at the way Luke presents the initiation of Jesus’ public ministry. We find the account in Luke 4, at the synagogue in Nazareth. Standing to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, we read that Jesus “found the place where it is written…” In other words, Jesus intentionally focuses in on Isaiah 61. What he is about to read, he will say, is fulfilled in the hearing of the people; he has come to do this work.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Isa. 61:1-2; Isa. 58:6)
This is the messianic manifesto which will guide the life of Jesus.
He is anointed to do this work by the power of the Spirit. To put it briefly, the work of Jesus will be to counter the chaos, the shalom-depleting effect, of a creation set against God and his intention for the world. The poor, one of the classes of the vulnerable we looked at last week, hear the good news of God. This message is not an other-worldly, distant message of a one-day-it-will-be. No, Jesus comes in the here and now to work to relieve the physical suffering caused by sin. The blind receive sight. In the final line quoted here by Jesus, he will proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. The year of Jubilee will come with the footsteps of Jesus on the earth, Jubilee in all its comprehensive fullness of a vision for the flourishing of all things. Jesus will not come doing something out of accord with the Old Testament vision of shalom for all things. No, he will walk the earth as the fulfillment of the vision.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father for sending Jesus to fulfill Your vision. Thank You for His life and for countering the chaos of our world.