Monday, November 16, 2015

Jesus and His Ministry

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he was in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  He unrolled a scroll of the prophet Isaiah and read the prophecy which Isaiah had written.  It's found in Luke 4 in our New Testament.
“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.”

I want you to especially note as Jesus described his ministry on earth, he placed emphasis on the Spirit of the Lord, saying, "he is on me," and "he has anointed me."  From that point, Jesus continued reading and in so doing, laid out the divine plans for his ministry.  Note these specific traits of his work on earth:

1.  He would proclaim good news to the poor.
2.  He is sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.
3.  He further proclaims the recovery of sight for the blind.
4.  He will set the oppressed free.
5.  He will proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. 

I can imagine the looks on the faces of the scholars in the crowd when Jesus read those words.  That look was nothing compared to the look they must have had when he rolled up the scroll while saying, "Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus was going to live a busy life if he accomplished all that was prophesied.  Those who are familiar with the gospel story of his life, will immediately remember the miracles he performed, even giving sight to the blind.  He also came with the message of freedom from those in the bondage of demons, and the hope for those whose lives were oppressed.  Of all the things he did and said, perhaps the hardest for even his followers to understand, was when he said his Kingdom was not of this world. 

I want us to focus on his mission as given by Isaiah, and repeated by Jesus himself.  Yes, the events of his torture are just days away, but his time among us has been centered on his love for us, and that will continue.  I have never been physically blind, but I know Jesus opened the eyes of my spiritual being to his truth for living.  I have not lived through oppression from anyone, but Jesus set me free from the oppression of Satan's grasp.  I haven't been imprisoned but I know he broke the chains of bondage that had us all tied to lives of sin, and he brought us freedom.  You see, when his ministry's prophecy was fulfilled, it was fulfilled in each one of us!

That's why, through our tears we watch the Son of God tortured, hated, mocked, and ultimately executed, and we know he is taking our place in a death that had our name written all over it.  Because of his love, his sacrifice, and his resurrection, he gives us the freedom and deliverance we could not give ourselves.  

So those were his words, in describing his ministry.  From the cross, one of the sayings of Jesus was the simple statement, "It is finished."  He had accomplished everything he came to do.  He continues that accomplishment daily in the hearts and lives of those who love him. Be continually mindful of what his death, burial and resurrection means for you. 


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