Summary: “So all bore witness to Him (Jesus), and marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” Luke 4:22.
Theme: Jesus is not sent to the Jews only
Text: Jer. 1:4-5, 17-19; 1 Cor. 12:31-13:13; Lk. 4:22-30
The eagle is a majestic bird that represents the perfect picture of glory and splendour. Many nations use it as a symbol of strength and glory and the symbol of our nation are two eagles, Freedom and Justice. Eagles, however, can be prevented from flying. They can be caged or chained and the evidence of history has them caged and chained by greed, corruption, selfishness and the love of self. Instead of soaring upwards to achieve their full potential, they have remained caged and chained on the ground. This is not only a picture of many nations but also the picture of the lives of many people including believers. Instead of soaring upwards in flight they remain caged and chained to the cares of this world and to the desires of the flesh. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God Came into this sinful world to deal with this situation – to release the captives – to open the cages and remove the chains. He did this by teaching and preaching the good news about the kingdom of God. He demonstrated what the kingdom of God was like by showing real love and compassion for those in need. He healed the leper, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the lame to walk and raised the dead. Jesus not only had compassion for the Jews, He also had compassion for the gentiles. He healed the servant of a Roman centurion. He healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman. He preached the gospel to a Samaritan woman and won many other Samaritans to the kingdom of God. Jesus was concerned about the whole world and His messages were to everyone. He taught the people “that the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world”. He told them “that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus is not sent to the Jews only but to the whole world.
Jesus Christ is God’s salvation to the world. Through Him God’s promise of hope, God’s promise of deliverance, and God’s promise of freedom has come to all people. Christ has brought freedom to those held in bondage to sin. He has brought deliverance from our internal enemy, the flesh, from our external enemy, the world, and from our infernal enemy, the Devil. He has brought deliverance from sexual sins, alcoholism, gambling, drug addiction, and every other sin. Jesus Christ has overcome the darkness around us with the light of His presence and reconciled us to God. He has brought restoration and made it possible for us to fulfil God’s original divine purpose and plan for our lives. He has restored the authority and dominion God gave to mankind.
No one has the ability to fight and deal with the darkness in and around him or her. Just imagine yourself in a place of total darkness. Do you deal with the darkness by fighting it or do you deal with it by letting the light in? Many believers today believe that they can deal with the darkness of the flesh by fighting the desires of the flesh. You can only fight the darkness by letting the light in and we let the light in and the Psalmist declares “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. Jesus came with the good news that we can let the light in and overcome the darkness. Christ, the perfect teacher, used the Jews to teach the lesson of God’s love and salvation. A teacher can use one pupil in a class to illustrate a point but the lesson is to the whole class. We are told that one remembers only a little of what they hear after a few days, that one would remember more when they write down what they hear and that one would remember a lot more when they act out what they hear and write down. The child used to illustrate a point in class may have an added advantage by acting out the lesson but the lesson is to the whole class. God chose Israel to demonstrate His love but His love is to everyone. Sometimes we think that His love is only to us and we become so accustomed to it that we begin to take it for granted or think that we deserve it. Like the Jews we even become jealous when we see God loving others. According to William Barclay the Jews were so sure that they alone were God’s people that they looked down on everyone else. Jesus, however, preached that God also loved the Gentiles. He used Elijah and Elisha to remind the Jews of God’s love for the Gentiles. The prophet Elijah was not sent to any of the Jewish widows who were starving during the long drought during his time but to a Gentile widow in Sidon, who was willing to share what little she had with him. Miraculously, he provided her with flour and oil until the end of the drought, and raised her son from the dead as well. His successor Elisha healed a Gentile leper named Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army and not one of the many Jewish lepers living at the time. Jesus referred to these events to show the Jews that God’s plan of redemption and mercy is to all people. We, the Church, should avoid making the same mistake the Jews made and not look down on unbelievers. As believers we have not been sent to other believers but to the whole world. Neither have we been sent only to the rich and influential, nor only to those we can benefit from; we have been sent to the poor, the naked, the hungry, the sick, the prisoner, the despised and rejected in the society. The message of Christ is to everyone.