16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. 17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
19 and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. [ Isaiah 61:1-2; 58:6]
20 He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. 21 He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”
Luke recorded a key moment in Christ’s early public ministry. Confidently he read this section of Scripture from centuries earlier. Then he stunned his hometown audience by boldly saying, in effect, “This text about God’s anointed one was about me.” He claimed to be the one and only Messiah. Jesus’ choice of “platform” (which frustrated and angered his hearers—cf. Luke 4:28-30) said his mission was to radically change the world’s priorities, to bring spiritual and social good news, healing and liberation.
Lord Jesus, I want to discern your calling and direction for my church, and for me as faithful citizen of your kingdom. Keep my mind and heart open to your calling. Amen.
* From Eugene H. Peterson, The Message. NavPress, 1993-2002.
Why was Jesus here on earth?
We believe Jesus took our sins to the cross where he gave his life for us and made it possible for us to live forever with our God in Heaven.
But what about before the crucifixion? He lived on the earth for 30+ years. Why was Jesus here?
Today’s scripture answers that question:
“He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed…”
He came to heal a broken world. To lift up the marginalized. To pursue justice and mercy. He came to help the family being torn apart by addiction, the young boy afraid of bullies, the single parent struggling to provide, the young woman being trafficked, the middle-aged man out of a job, the teen considering suicide. Jesus was here for the lost and the lonely, the dejected and the rejected.
Then so are we. Jesus was here first to show us, and then to send us. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”
We get to live with Jesus in heaven someday. But right now, we live here – in a world that desperately needs us to do more than stand by and wait for that day.
Of the four Vision 2030 initiatives shared by Pastor Adam in yesterday’s sermon, I am most excited for the initiative to close the justice and kindness gap: “Address injustices and build bridges of healing so that Kansas City looks more like the Kingdom of God.” It means we get to help, to fix, to create, to restore, to DO.
This is why we are here.
Here I am, Lord…
Can’t find something? Let us help.