Summary: Jesus is anointed Messiah and he says it’s for three purposes. First is to proclaim Good News to the poor.
Good News to the Poor
What’s this season really about? Jesus. It’s not so much what he taught as it is about who he is. In Jesus’ first sermon, he chose this Biblical text and in it, he gives his mission. When Jesus read this Scripture, he closed the book and dropped the bombshell and said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The people got so mad that they took him and attempted to throw him off the cliff at the edge of Nazareth because of the declaration. We do what we do not because of what Jesus taught but because of who he was and is. When Jesus said, The Lord has anointed me, that fired up the Jews. The word anointed in Hebrew is mashach which means messiah. Mashach indicates the act of taking olive oil and smearing it on a person’s forehead. The remaining oil would be poured over their head so that it ran to their feet showing total consecration or setting apart for God’s purposes. The purpose was two-fold - to set the anointed person apart as holy unto God and to commission them for service unto Him and His people. In the OT times, the prophet, priest, king or even weapons of battle and items of use in the Temple were anointed. This is the nature of the anointing on Jesus.
Now the Jewish people had been looking for centuries for their messiah. In fact, it had been more than 800 years since Isaiah when Jesus arrived. Yet, they still long and hoped for the Messiah because they knew that when the Messiah would come, it would signal the presence of the kingdom of God and the restoration of all things broken.
Now Christianity stands and falls on the identity of Christ. It’s how Christianity is different from every other religion in the world. Every other religion taught a moral code, a way of following God. But the primary core of Jesus’ teaching was his identity, who he said he was. CS Lewis was the first to point out that people can’t just say that Jesus was a good man. He said, that you have to be more than a person of moral character. If Jesus wasn’t the Messiah then he lied about his most important teaching. So CS Lewis said we have only three options. Jesus was either who he said he was, the Messiah, or he was a liar or a lunatic. And if he was not the Messiah, then he was not a good man but a fake. Yet the core of Jesus’ teaching for was, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No one can come to the Father but through me.” Everywhere you look, it’s about his identity. He said, to see me is to see God. To know me is to know God. To love me is to love God. To obey me is to obey God. To deny me is to deny God.
Jesus is anointed Messiah and he says it’s for three purposes. First is to proclaim Good News to the poor. The poor are those who lack knowledge, food or physical provisions or opportunities for for a better life. This often means there is a lack of hope in their life that the future will hold anything better than what today held for them. The poor are often those who are despised by affluent society yet Jesus centers his minsitry on the poor. Too often we think that if people can just get their physical needs met they will be all right. But notice that Jesus doesn’t say he came to clothe or feed or provide shelter for the poor. He came to proclaim Good News.