Monday, January 19, 2009 | By: Melody Joy King


This is going to be a LONG one, so hang on tight! I promise though if you hang on til the end, you will be blessed and encouraged, I know I was!

"I was a mess before the Savior set me free. That's why my dearest life passages are found in Isaiah 61:1-2 and quoted again in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus went to His home synagogue in Nazareth and declared both the fact and the Nature of His call and ministry------to preach good news to the heal the proclaim freedom for the prisoner........sight for the release the oppressed.......and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4:18-19). Let's briefly discuss each part of that description:
1.) 'The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has annointed Me to preach good news to the poor' (Luke 4:18). Christ didn't mean the finacially destitue. The Greek word for "poor" is ptochos, indicating 'utter helplessness, complete destitution, afflicted, distressed.' I think God is far too faithful to let anyone make it through life without confronting seasons of utter helplessness. Sooner or later, any healthy individual discovers that autonomy doesn't cut it. Like beggars we go from person to person with our empty cup, crying, "Can't you add anything to my life?' They might throw in a coin or two. But when we shake the cup, the tinny echo reminds us how empty we remain. Until we allow Jesus to fill our cups daily, we simply subsist. Sooner or later, God will make sure we confront the poverty of living on the alms of others so that we may learn to feast on Him.
2.) 'To heal the brokenhearted' (Luke 4:18). Some New Testament translations include this phrase, while others don't. Either way, it is worthy of our consideration. The original word for 'brokenhearted' is suntribo, meaning 'to break, strike against break the stength or power of someone.' The Greek word for 'heal' is iaomai, meaning 'to heal, cure, restore.' I love the Hebrew word translated 'heal' in Exodus 15:26 when God introduced Himself by a new title: 'I am the LORD who heals you.' the word raphah means 'to mend (by stitching), repair thoroughly, make whole.' I picture God focusing steadily on the object of repair. One stitch follows another. It takes time. I picture painful penetrations of the healing needle. I don't know about you, but I am quite sure if my healing process had been painless, I would have relapsed.
3.) 'To proclaim freedom for the prisoners' (v.18). Long after my salvation, I was in many ways like the prisoners in Psalm 107:10-16,20, suffering 'in iron chains, for they had rebelled against he words of God' (vv.10-11). Many people sincerely love God, but I don't think anyone stands to understand the unfailing love of God like the believer finally set free from failure. I know this captive can undoubtedly testify: He sent forth His Word and healed me. Stitch by stitch. But please notice that Christ proclaimed freedom, He didn't impose it. It remains an offer.
4.) 'Recovery of sight for the blind' (v.18). Although Christ would heal many from physical blindness, I believe His intent here was a far more serious kind of blindness. Second Corinthians 4:4 says. 'The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.' I find the original word for blind in both Luke's Gospel and Paul's second letter to the Corinthians to be so interesting. Tuphlos means 'to envelope with smoke, to be unable to see clearly.' Perhaps none of the enemy's attempts to cloud our vision compare to our fiery trials. His job is to keep us blinded to the One who walks with us through the fire. Oh, believer, God is there whether our spiritual eyes discern Him or not.
5.) 'To release the oppressed' (v.18). I looked up every definition for 'oppressed' in the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. A half dozen original words are translated in the Bible with our single word 'oppressed,' and all but one have the word 'break' in the definition. I'm becoming more and more convinced that heavy-duty oppression is Satan's counterfeit for biblical brokenness. At times I have fought back tears as I've heard testimonies of people who had been utterly unable to function, describing themselves as broken by God. I don't think God's brand of brokenness is total emotional wreckage. God's intent in breaking us is to bend our stiff knees so that we will submit to His authority and take on His yoke. His aim is our abundant and effective life. Being totally unable to function because the mind and emotions are in shambles is Satan's counterfeit. Praise God, Christ can certainly use Satan's counterfeit brokenness to bring us to a place of accepting His own, but I think we credit some things to Christ that He doesn't do.
6.) 'To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor' (v. 19). Those who gathered that year in the Nazarene synagogue were staring in the face of the Lord's favor------His blessed gift of grace, Jesus Christ. The word "year" can be translated as 'any definite time.' God places before each of us a definitive period of time to accept the Lord's favor. He wills for none to perish but for all to come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). The world has until His return. The individual has a definitive period of time known by God alone. I am not past begging people not to wait too long for salvation, because eternal life in heaven is at stake. Neither am I beyond begging them to embrace His freedom, because abundant life on earth is at stake. How he longs to be Your champion now."
~Beth Moore