Jesus and Release
- Written by Lon Lorton Lon Lorton
Musings after spending two out of the past three weekends on Great Banquet prison teams:
"When He came to the village of Nazareth, His boyhood home, Jesus went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has annointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see. that the opressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.' He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at Him intently. Then He began to speak to them. 'The Scripture you've just heard has been fulfilled this very day!'" (Luke 4:16-21)
So, from the very beginning of His ministry, here is Jesus' agenda. I'm guessing you could have heard a pin drop. He was declaring Himself to be the One the prophets spoke of, but also reminded the people of the Savior's purpose in coming. His agenda in part was to deal with very real physical issues (the poor, the blind, the opressed). But, beyond that, Jesus' agenda would include the poor in spirit, the spiritually blind, and the spiritually opressed.
No one else ever came seeking these people. There were no great leaders of the poor or the blind or the opressed. No one wanting to be a leader ever solicited these folks. Throughout history, not many (maybe Waylon Jennings and Pete Phelan) cared much for those who were serving time. It seemed like Jesus came specifically for those who were in need. Go figure! Doesn't seem like that would be a great way to win friends and influence people, at least not on the upper end of the social ladder.
If you are a free, relatively healthy individual with a job or a good retirement, you've got a home and a future, and you've got Jesus, consider yourself fortunate. You were definitely on God's mind. But did you notice that you were not on Jesus' primary "to do" list? On the other hand, if you are poor in spirit, blind to God's will, captive to sin, and/or opressed by the enemy, consider yourself really fortunate. Welcome to the family of faith and grace. Jesus gave His life for you. He is for the last, the lowest, the weakest, the poorest, and the least desirable. If you aren't there, and especially if you think you've never been there, you probably don't need to bother. Jesus will not make sense to you.
On the other hand, if you see yourself on His list, raise your banner high and shout with joy. You get it!