Ministry like Jesus’
The people who had gathered in Nazareth’s synagogue had no idea that they would come face-to-face with the long-awaited Messiah that day. Like other Sabbaths, Jesus stood to read the Scriptures. This time He unrolled the scroll of Isaiah and began reading, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18–19)
When finished, He sat back down and proclaimed, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus, whom they had seen grow from childhood to manhood, was identifying Himself as the One to whom Isaiah referred, the Messiah. For some, it was too much to take in, too hard for them to believe. Instead, thinking Jesus was blaspheming, they drove Him to a cliff to throw Him off.
Every Christ-follower has received the Spirit of God and can say, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me.” We are not the Messiah, but He has given us the privilege of pointing people to the Lord through methods similar to His. You could say, “The Holy Spirit has anointed me (insert your name) to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”
Our partners in India and Rwanda follow this model of the Lord’s ministry. They not only preach the Good News, but they demonstrate the Lord’s love and salvation to the orphans, widows, and other “overlooked” people. Through the Gospel they announce freedom from sin, they help people “see” God more clearly, and they proclaim deliverance from the oppression of idols.
Did you notice that Jesus stopped short of reading the entirety of Isaiah’s prophecy (check out Isaiah 61:2). Jesus came to proclaim God’s favor, not His vengeance. As our partners care for the physical and spiritual needs of these older women and younger children, these “forgotten ones” come to realize that they are objects of God’s favor, the apple of His eye!
By Marlon Furtado