Freedom, Deep Freedom!
Luke records Jesus’ very first declaration of the mandate of His mission as Messiah. After His Baptism (chap. 3) Luke tells us “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1). There for forty days He fasted, prayed, and resisted all temptations of the devil. He then “returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.” (v.14-15). Finally, on return to Nazareth, Jesus stands up in the synagogue and reads from the prophet Isaiah:
“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.” (v.18-19; see Isa. 61:1-2).
After returning the scroll He announced “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (v. 21).
Jesus’s first proclamation of purpose is all about freedom: Freedom from poverty. Freedom from imprisonment. Freedom from blindness Freedom from oppression Freedom from divine disfavor
But, a sceptic might complain, don’t we see believers who are poor, believers in prisons, believers who are blind, believers who are oppressed? Yes, indeed we do. But Jesus is here speaking of something much deeper than the physical realm. He is speaking of the spiritual.
For though a believer may have little of this world’s goods he is rich in spirit and has few desires. [See John 4:32; Phil. 4:11-13]. Though a believer may be restricted physically even in a prison cell, he can experience contentment, and express worship, as did Paul & Silas [See Acts 16:23-25]. Though a believer may be unable to see, Jesus opens their eyes to deeper spiritual truths [See John 9:39; Psalm 119:18]. Though a believer may be oppressed on many sides, there is comfort and peace as by centering one’s thoughts upon Christ [See Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:8-9].
And the believer has the great privilege of sharing this Christ with another, “Freely you have received; freely give,” Jesus told His disciples. (Matt. 10:8).
This freedom is a unique freedom. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). It is unique because it has nothing to do with the circumstances of life. A believe need not live “under the circumstances,” but above them! — You may need to seek it earnestly at times, but it is available.
Best of all the believer is freed from divine disfavor! The wrong that stood between creature and Creator is removed. As Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2).
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