(Written September 10, 2000, revised September 2019)
Consider it. About 2000 years ago a man, a carpenter’s son at that, stands up in the church and reads from the Bible, from the book of Isaiah.
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
The passage was not new. It had been read before but this time it was different. There was something special about this man. As he sat down the eyes of everyone in the church were fixed on him. Then He said something amazing, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled your hearing.” Was this man talking about himself? Was this man the anointed one, the one sent to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to those who are oppressed? Was this man not Joseph’s son?
Today we know the answer. Jesus was indeed the anointed one. History records it. Jesus came to preach the gospel, the good news, to heal broken hearts, free captives, open eyes, and free the oppressed. But that was 2000 years ago. Did Jesus not say, “Today!” “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing?” You can believe that Jesus died on the cross and even that Jesus, the Son of God, rose again from the dead. But to believe that this passage has already been fulfilled by Jesus? How is it that there is still sickness, there is still blindness, and so many are captive in old and worn out bodies? Jesus did heal many during His ministry on earth, but what about me, what about my family?
Listen to Jesus in Matthew 11, “”Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30) Jesus came to do just as he said. He brings His gospel, that is His good news. Because of Jesus there is good news for those who are poor is spirit. Because of Jesus there is healing for those who are broken hearted. There is freedom for those who find themselves captive to sins. There is new hope in sight for those who cannot see anything good. With Jesus comes good news.
This good news is not the healing of our physical bodies, at least not yet. It is about freeing people from something much worse than any physical hardship. But What could be worse than being captive in a body that is blind, that cannot move?
What could be worse? Please, let me tell you. A broken heart held captive by sin, a heart that walks with anger, in bitterness, with selfish pride is much worse. Or just a heart which does not walk with God. To have such a heart is much worse than great brokenness of our physical body.
Death will bring an end to physical suffering in world. But this is not so with a soul or heart held captive by sin. Sin separates the soul from God, and from the joy of God. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Without Jesus we all are captive to our sins. Without Jesus, there is no hope of eternal life. Without Jesus we will suffer eternal damnation in hell.
But “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!” Jesus has come with His gospel, with good news, and freedom from the captivity of sin.
Jesus, the Son of God did not sin. Yet, He suffered and died. He took that wrath of God upon Himself, the wrath of God that I deserve because of my sins. Jesus paid for the sins of His people. Jesus bought them freedom from the penalty of sin. The Bible teaches Jesus is the only one able to pay the penalty which sin requires, being the only man who did not have His own sin, making it possible for Him to die in the place of those whose trust is in Him. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Those whose sins are paid for have freely been forgiven. They will live in freedom forever with God, where there will be no more sin and no more sickness.
Do you believe in this Jesus, the only begotten Son of God? Believe! It is most important to believe. The passage Jesus read from the book of Isaiah also says Jesus is coming to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. Only those who believe, those who are children of God will be freed from the grip of sin. Those who in their heart refuse to follow God will receive God’s vengeance. Those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.
Do you believe in this Jesus, the only begotten Son of God? If so, give thanks and praise to God and live for God. Be joyful and live in such a way that those around you will also want to know Jesus, and the reason for the hope that is in you. When you are given opportunity, tell others about the wonderful good news found in Jesus Christ.
If you do not believe, cry out to this most gracious God for mercy, “For God did not send His Son, into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Let us respond to God in thanksgiving as we sing.
For direct quotes from scripture I used
The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.