In Luke chapter four Jesus stands up to read in the synagogue and reads from the scroll of Isaiah:
He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luk 4:16-21 WEB)
This is early in Jesus’ ministry. He reads the words of the prophet Isaiah. Just like in the previous post where Jesus quoted the word of God in rejecting temptation Jesus quotes the word of God to define his mission statement. His mission is:
- to preach good news to the poor
- to proclaim release to the captives
- recovering of sight to the blind
- to deliver those who are crushed
- to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord
The verses are from Isaiah 61. They are in reference to the year of Jubilee. (The acceptable year of the Lord is also translated as the year of Jehovah’s favor or the Jubilee year). The year of Jubilee was a special year every 50 years where debts were forgiven and the land was restored to its original owner, the one to whom it had been given as an inheritance. Every 50 years the slate was wiped clean!
Jesus’s declaration equated his arrival with the year of Jubilee. Jesus’s Jubilee was a special Jubilee. This Jubilee was once and for all. Instead of something smaller that happened every 50 years the redemption that Jesus brought was forever. The 50 year Jubilee cycle had been a foreshadowing of what was to come. Jesus was the fulfillment of the principle of Jubilee. Jesus’ good tidings were the gospel. The release of the captives was more than just for people imprisoned for offenses in the local prisons. Jesus came to set people free who were held captive by the snare of the devil so that they would no longer be in bondage to the things of this world but be set free and made citizens of the kingdom of God. The Jubilee that Jesus brought wasn’t a single year, it was eternity. It was eternal life with him.
It would be too simplistic to say that this was the only thing that Jesus set out to do. He made other statements about his mission. For example:
Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luk 5:30-32 WEB)
In Luke chapter 5 the Pharisees challenged Jesus on why the disciples didn’t fast, instead, they ate and drank with sinners. Here Jesus makes another mission statement. Jesus declared he had a mission to call sinners to repentance.
So we learn that Jesus did make mission statements. His mission was the mission of the word of God. He set the example of carrying out God’s Word. Of course, as our leader, his mission becomes our mission. As believers we are joint heirs to carry out his mission: to preach good tidings to the poor: to proclaim release to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
What an awesome thing!
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