“And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’” (Luke 4:16-19 RSV).
At the outset of His ministry, Jesus framed His mission as doing the work of Isaiah 61 and 58: the proclamation of the good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight for the blind, setting at liberty the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.
That’s how He defined His mission. And this is exactly what we see Him doing all throughout His public ministry.
When John the Baptist asked Jesus whether or not He was truly the Lord’s anointed, Jesus assured John that He was carrying out His mission: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matthew 11:4-5). In other words, yes, I am the Lord’s anointed, and look at what’s happening: I’m carrying out my mission. That’s my proof.
Jesus was indeed God’s anointed. And as His followers, we are called to continue His mission here on earth. In other words, the reason He was sent is also why He sends us.
The proclamation of the Gospel did not merely address people’s eternal destiny for Jesus. It impacted all of their being, in this life and the next. Their health. Their socioeconomic status. Their position as one oppressed. All of this, for Jesus, proclaimed the year of God’s favor. Being His disciples means that we have been likewise sent to meet people in these same ways. In doing so, we actually testify to the messiahship of Jesus before a watching world.
If we are going to call ourselves Jesus’ disciples, then our mission, activity, and focus must mirror His. He laid out the reason He was sent in the synagogue of Nazareth, and He never drifted from His mission.
Do your focus, actions, and mission align with Jesus’?
Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Lord, enable us every day to align our purpose and mission with His and proclaim the year of Your favor. Amen.