Luke 4:18 “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 proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This year, we as Americans are celebrating 243 years of self-governing freedom and independence. That’s long enough for us to begin to take it for granted. For most of human history people have had little influence on what their rulers do. Most people in most places could be described as subjects rather than citizens. Often these subjects long for relief from oppression and the dignity associated with freedom.
The people of Jesus’ day were no different. Though the Romans of his day knew of the benefits of citizenship, those who they subjugated through conquest knew only of tyranny, oppression, and heavy taxation (something we Americans find particularly objectionable). Jesus came preaching a message that would have resonated with their ears. In Luke 4, he quotes the prophet Isaiah in proclaiming “the year of the Lord’s favor,” claiming to be ushering in a new age of freedom and blessing.
Isaiah was referencing an even older picture of freedom that God had built into the civil code of the Old Testament, the year of Jubilee. This year of Jubilee was to be celebrated every 50 years and was marked by, among other things, the forgiving of debt and the freeing of slaves. It was a resetting of society for the nation of Israel, a picture of God’s favor and blessing, and a check against the tyrannical rule of the powerful. Another name for the year of Jubilee was – the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus was making a surprising claim to his hearers, that HE was proclaiming the year of Jubilee.
Jesus was saying that for all those that would submit themselves and follow him, they would receive freedom, restoration, and blessing. He was claiming he was powerful enough to bring this about. It can be tempting for us today to make the same mistake those who heard this so long ago did and assume Jesus is only talking about the physical world here, but he is not. Jesus never only addressed the physical. Rather Jesus always goes deeper and is addressing spiritual freedom, restoration, and blessing here. And that remains true even today.
The message of freedom is not just an American idea, or a western idea, rather it is God’s idea. And his idea is not just that we can be free from physical oppression, though we are thankful for that, but we can be free and blessed in the spiritual, if we will call upon him.
Are you bound? Are you blind? Are you oppressed by things in your life? God has made a way for freedom. A freedom that can come no matter what regime you live under and no matter the oppression you face. No one can make you believe anything. Decisions of the heart to follow Jesus supersede the tyranny of man. In him, we can truly be free from fear, doubt, unforgiveness, depression, dependency, or any other lie of the enemy. I pray you reach out to Jesus today and experience real freedom!
We at Treasure Lake Church pray you have found this brief meditation encouraging. We invite all Treasure Lake residents, and those in the surrounding community, to gather with us as we worship the God who makes us free. We are located at 1427 Bay Rd. and gather weekly for worship services on Saturday at 6:00pm (children’s ministry provided), and on Sunday at 8:30am (no children’s ministry) and 11:00am (children’s ministry provided) as well as Sunday School on Sunday mornings at 10:00am for all ages. For more information you can visit us on the web at http://www.treasurelakechurch.org/.