Summary: I want to look at the mission of Christ and talk about our responses
A. Opening illustration: Sir Edmund Hillary, Everest 1953, died January11, 2008
B. Background to passage: After the birth narratives, the accounts of John the Baptist, and the temptation by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit to begin his ministry. According to John, we know that Jesus ministered in Judea for about a year before going to Galilee for an extended time. One of the first places he goes is his home town. Here we see again the purpose of his mission, and the hometown response.
C. Main thought: I want to look at the mission of Christ and talk about our responses.
1) The Mission (v. 16-21)
a. Luke makes a note here that Jesus’ pattern in his ministry was going to the synagogue each week. Whether he was the speaker for that morning or not, Jesus went to commune spiritual and be strengthened with the covenant people of God. Notice that Jesus’ pattern was also to participate.
b. Now, Jesus chooses a passage that everyone would have associated with the coming of the Messiah to tell of his ministry, his mission, his gospel. Look at the five aspects. 1) preach the gospel to the poor. This word for poor meant to shrink back or cower from something, not those without money. Jesus meant those who knew they were spiritually needy would hear good news of God’s forgiveness. The best example is the pharisee and the tax collector from Luke 18. 2) proclaim liberty to the captives. You will see a recurring theme, Jesus message was about salvation, not political reform, not social justice, not moralistic regulation, not racial reconciliation, although some of these other things may be byproducts, they are secondary. The captives are not those in prison, but those in bondage to sin. Again, it is those who are willing to admit their captivity/sin who receive freedom. The only two times this Greek word is translated liberty are in this verse. The other 15 times it is translated “forgiveness.” 3) Jesus said he came to open the eyes of the blind. Again, salvation is the meaning here. Jesus opened blinded eyes, but not all of them. Often the bible speaks of those that have eyes but do not see. His commission wasn’t to go open blinded eyes. He says that he is offering spiritual sight to the spiritually blind. 4) The idea of shattering chains is behind this word only used here in the NT. Burdens held people down physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This is why Jesus could say come unto me and I will give you rest. He came to break the chains that bind you to sins committed against you, to pharisaical religion, to insurmountable circumstances in life to give you peace. 5) Finally, to proclaim the favor of God upon people who acknowledge their sin and come to him. To be a fulfillment and a witness to the faithfulness of God to visit his people.
d. Just a small note of application: if it was right and necessary for Christ to gather with the people of God, how much more so is it for us! Your spiritual nourishment as you gather regularly with the church is of a critical and absolute necessity. Your pattern of life is to be here, to join yourself with a body and invest your soul there. Willful lack of this pattern will cause your soul to shrivel up, your testimony will be shaky, and the favor of God to leave your life. There should be no spectators, pew-warmers, or oxygen-wasters in the church. I don’t like to go down this road, but hear me when I lovingly say, you will be out of the will of God, if you are not in church, and if you are not serving in some aspect.
e. If we recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt, by that I mean that we have nothing of spiritual value to offer God to gain forgiveness, the good news is that you are in the right spot to receive grace. You can’t be good to earn forgiveness, you have nothing to offer. Our righteousness is filthy rags. The holiest person on the planet cannot give holiness to God to merit pardon of sin. 2) We are all in bondage to sin. We all need to be set free. Jesus came to tell those who hate their captivity that you are forgiven. 3) We are all blind in our unredeemed state. Before we became believers, or if you are here and have not yet been born again, we couldn’t see our sin and its severity against a holy God. We could not see the beauty of the greatest treasure in Christ. Open your eyes! He is the treasure and the pearl, and you have trampled his glory and spit in his face. You have infinitely offended an infinite God. Your treason will bring swift destruction without Christ. Turn to Him. 4) Many of you need freedom from some guilt you are carrying. Many of you need forgiveness. Many of you need strength to overcome. Many of you need to forgive and carry the burden of a grudge no longer. Relationships that are hard to bear. Jesus came to set you free! 5) What a merciful God we serve.