In Luke’s Gospel, chapter four, we read that Jesus began his public ministry with a reading from Isaiah. In the synagogue in Nazareth, surrounded by respected religious leaders of the community, Jesus read:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
As he finished Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
This “purpose statement” Jesus embraced as his own is found in Isaiah 61:1-2. Interestingly, Jesus left out one phrase from the Isaiah passage. That phrase is, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus made it clear that he was not about vengeance, retribution, or punishment, but restoration, healing, and deliverance.
We, too, are anointed by the Spirit of the Lord. We are sent into the world with purpose. As followers (as opposed to acknowledgers) of Jesus we have no choice but to make Jesus’ priorities our own. We must make our mission all about fulfilling his mission.
We will proclaim the Lord’s good news for the poor and his freedom for prisoners. We will help the blind see the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We will actively engage in setting the oppressed free.
As ambassadors of the Lord we will testify to his favor.