In the gospel of Luke, Jesus’ first public proclamation regarding His mission is recorded in chapter 4. Having entered the synagogue on the Sabbath as was His custom, Jesus was given the scroll of Isaiah to read. He read from Isaiah chapter 61, “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 oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Then Jesus quietly shocked His audience when He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and announced, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
I used to zip right over this passage not really sure who the poor, captive, blind, and oppressed were referring to. I assumed they were very specific groups of poor, oppressed, and blind folks. As I gained a better understanding of Jesus’ mission in this world, a new revelation jumped off the page for me! This was us! This was me! I am the one who was poor, captive, blind, and oppressed. Jesus came for me!
And what Jesus brought for me was FREEDOM. I was spiritually poor with absolutely no moral capital to save myself. I was a captive, held by sin’s power. I was blind, stumbling in the darkness of a world system led by the enemy of God. And I was oppressed, held in the grip of the evil one (I John 5:19)
What Jesus brought was not condemnation of us because of our sin. He brought freedom from our sin! John 3:17 so clearly lays this out, “For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.”? Condemnation for our sin was not part of Jesus’ first advent. Judgment will be part of the equation at Christ’s second coming; and only for those who have not believed in Jesus.
But Jesus’ first coming that we celebrate this Advent season is all about love, acceptance, forgiveness, and freedom. You are included in the promise of Luke 4:18. Jesus came to set you free. His freedom proclamation is for you and me. The King, with His freedom-wielding scepter, has come to rescue you!