‘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 favour.’
On Sunday we continued with our theme of enlarging our tent. A really encouraging look at what God is asking of us, to be open, spacious to see people outside the family of God move to being inside the family of God. Moving from observation to participation, from isolation to inclusion.
In doing this we looked at these verses from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus sits in front of his friends and family and says what you have been looking for is here. I am the one who has come to bring good news to the poor, to give sight to the blind to give freedom to prisoners and relief to the oppressed.
I am the one, he says, who is going to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
We were reminded that for Israel this year of the Lord’s favour was one where debts were forgiven, and every 50th year peoples lands were returned to them. This was known as the year of jubilee where trumpets would sound and the dispossessed would get their inheritance back. It was a unique and beautiful series of laws to protect people from those who would oppress them. It never actually happened, the trumpets never sounded in the whole history of Israel. God plans of care and protection of the oppressed never came it never arrived – until now. Jesus says now it is available to you. Now and forever the impoverished the blind, the prisoner the oppressed (which literally means the crushed) are able to have the favour of the Lord. Jesus doesn’t talk simply i physical or economic terms, these metaphors of poverty, blindness, imprisonment and oppression, all spoke of people who are separated from God – but now we have the opportunity to be reconciled (to be brought back into relationship) to God. That’s the Lords favour. And we noticed that the message is a positive one. Jesus says this is what I will do – doesn’t talk of God’s vengeance or anger – he focusses on God’s love and grace. He says this is what God is for – he is for you, he is on your side.
If we are to see our tent stretched – the curtains opened then we need to focus on what God is for too – not what he against but what he is for.
This week if you have an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus (and there will be opportunity) tell them about what Jesus is for – tell them Jesus is for them to bring them back to him and to shower them with his favour – a favour of sight, and riches of his inheritance and freedom.