Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Peace be with you!
Have you ever had someone find out who you are before meeting you and expect you to behave a certain way? If there is one thing I hate, it is when individuals come up to whomever I am with and say, “Bless your soul. It is so good that you take her out and about.” Instead of seeing me as an individual, people see the electric wheelchair and hear someone who is not able to speak clearly (they hear static), and therefore assume I am a burden on society. My brassy friends will come back with, “Oh, she is getting me out. She goes all over the country visiting friends and family. I am just glad she has time to visit me.” The unexpected individual will go silence usually and walks away as if a nun slapped them on the wrist. My dad usually says as he drops me off at the airport, “She is the traveler of the family. She was just home between trips. She is very independent.” People tend to think an electric wheelchair causes an individual to not be able to perform tasks that “normal” individuals do or that all individuals in wheelchairs do not have the mental capacity to think for themselves.
Jesus goes to the synagogue and teaches out of Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19 NRSV)
As the Messiah, Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit from his baptism (Luke 3:21-22). Jesus has come into the world to sent God’s people free: to release captives, to give the blind sight, and to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18b). The list of Messianic duties does not sound glorious.
Society has an image of what individuals should look like and how they should act. The Messiah is not supposed to care about the lonely and weak. As God’s son, Jesus should be willing to fight against the enemies of the Jews and give them the “Promise Land” as the Lord gave it to the Israelites when he led them out of Egypt. The Jews are expecting Jesus to physically free them from the Roman Empire. Instead Jesus is going to psychosocially and spiritually free the Jews from the darkness and their sins
By reading Isaiah, Jesus is reading his job description: to release captives, to give the blind sight, and to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18b). Jesus understands what the Jews expect of him, but God the Father has other plans for him. Jesus will set the Jews (and anyone else who follows him – more on that next week) free by releasing them of their sins through his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Jesus has a hefty job to do. He has to turns the hearts of the Jews towards God the Father.
Leviticus 25:8-17 instructs the Israelites of the year of Jubilee where individuals are released of their debts and slaves are released every seven years. The Jubilee year is a year of deliverance. Jesus brings the spirit of the Jubilee year into the world by delivering us of our past, present, and future sins through his crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
The Jews do not understand how Jesus, the Messiah, will deliver them from their sins and allow them to be in a relationship with God the Father again. The bonds the world has on the Jews will be broken, and they will be lifted up to be with God the Father. Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection will free the Jews beyond their imaginations. He will bring light into the darkness, feed the hungry, and find the lost.
We may not always understand how much we need Jesus deliver us from us, how much we need to be in a relationship with God the Father, and how much God loves us for who we are. God does not expect us to be anything less or more than who we are today. We do not have to prove anything to God the Father. All God asks of us is that we love him, believe in him, and let him lead us.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving us so deeply to give us what we need, not what we want. Help us to understand Jesus came to redeem us of our sins through his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Remind us that we need your love when we are in the wilderness, especially when we are lost and confused. Thank you for redeeming us of our sins. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. How do people view you as an individual?
2. How do you view Jesus as an individual?
3. How does Jesus continue to redeem you from your sins?