Identity of the King 3: The Liberator of the Oppressed

For Meditation 

As we move deeper and deeper into Luke’s gospel we’re seeing more about who Jesus is through what had been predicted about him, through the stories about his birth. And now, we look at who Jesus is as he begins his public ministry.

As we look at our passage, we see that Jesus proclaims release to those who had long been held captive by powers that they had no control over.  Many were oppressed by governments and systems that kept them poor, others had physical ailments that couldn’t be cured, and there were demonic powers at work as well, trying to keep things from being the way God intended them to be.

Jesus proclaims that in and through him the people trapped in spiritual and physical poverty would be set free, that God’s grace had come and it was moving to all people. He was proclaiming good news, he was proclaiming the gospel.   

The response to this message is surprising. Instead of embracing Jesus’ message, the people who heard him wanted to kill him! The grace of God was being proclaimed to them and yet they didn’t like it.  We know that many people did accept the message of God’s grace and for those who did, God moved them to be vessels of his grace and mercy to the world.

Jesus is the one who frees us from all forms of oppression and as he restores us we are moved then to be used by him to help restore others.

God’s grace is available to us in Jesus. How will we respond? 

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Luke 4:14-30

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “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,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.