I want to look at a few words in Jesus’ mission statement that will help us to clearly see the gospel the way Jesus preached it.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
There are some key words here in Luke 4 – that I want to explore.
Jesus says he is going to give recovery of sight to the blind, and we know in his ministry he healed the blind, but I think this gospel reaches further than physical blindness, don’t you? Recovered sight is about being exposed to truth and it’s about shinning a light on those who are teaching lies.
Jesus also told them a parable. “A blind person can’t lead another blind person, right? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Disciples aren’t greater than their teacher, but whoever is fully prepared will be like their teacher. Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s or sister’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Brother, Sister, let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You deceive yourselves! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.
Jesus wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns in his teaching, he also preached about injustice and hypocrisy. Jesus said those who deceived and taught others lies would be exposed. Knowing that the corrupt would be punished for their abuse – that was also “Good news.”
Jesus speaks on behalf of the poor – the beatitudes begin with…
Then looking up at His disciples, He said: You who are poor are blessed, because the kingdom of God is yours. You who are now hungry are blessed, because you will be filled. You who now weep are blessed, because you will laugh. You are blessed when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil because of the Son of Man.
Just like the prophets who came before him, Jesus’ message contains joy for the lost and the forgotten. Zarapeth the widow was fed, Naaman was healed. In God’s Kingdom, Jesus says the last are first. In God’s Kingdom your status is determined not by how pious you are, but by how you treat others and how you treat children and how you treat the “least of these.” According to Jesus, notorious sinners can be loved and forgiven – Jesus brings a message of a Kingdom unlike any other – truly this is Good News.
Lastly, Jesus’ gospel was about the coming of a new world order. The year of the Lord’s favor. Only this jubilee would not be a mere 365 days, Jesus’ reign as the King of the Earth began now, and it would have no end.
The Old Testament prophets used language about this day, they said in this day there would be a “New Heaven and a New Earth” They said that each of us would have a “New Heart” They spoke of a day when the “Lion would lie down with the lamb.” They said one day “Swords would be beaten into farm equipment” and no longer would people learn the ways of war.
Jesus’ gospel was about His Father’s Kingdom and the good news was – the wait was over. When Jesus finished reading his mission statement he said to everyone in the room…“Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”
He didn’t say, “and when you die, you will go to Heaven and THEN you will experience Gods Kingdom.” If I have to wait until I die to experience Jesus’ reign as King, then that’s not good news now.
It could be good news off in the future one day, but that’s not what Jesus preached….
Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom was coming. He replied, “God’s kingdom isn’t coming with signs that are easily noticed. Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already among you.”