Living on the Edge, Part 2

Luke 4: 17-22

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. 

And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’. 

And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips…

The Good Times Are Here 

What does all this mean? Seems Jesus is bringing some good news for the oppressed Jewish nation. God has been silent in Israel for over 400 years, but now, Jesus is proclaiming the favorable time of the Lord is coming. Is He claiming to be the Messiah? 

In short, yes, He is claiming to be the Messiah. He is claiming to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1,2a. The favor of God is back! Leviticus speaks of the favorable year of the Lord as the Jubilee. This is a year when slaves and prisoners are set free, debts are forgiven, the mercies of God are abundant. Jesus is proclaiming that it is time for Him to save and bring relief to the following: 


  • The poor and afflicted (the spiritually poor or the physically poor?) 
  • The captives (the spiritual prisoners or actual prisoners?) 
  • The blind (the spiritually blind or the physically blind?) 
  • The oppressed (the spiritually oppressed or the physically oppressed?) 


There’s a twist to the story 

This is all good news, right? How kind of Jesus to rescue and bring recovery to the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed. He’s even performed some miracles to prove that He is able to do it. The Jews are excited and filled with anticipation. But is there excitement over the spiritual fulfillment or the physical fulfillment of these promises?

It is very clear that they expected the physical fulfillment of what Jesus is preaching. But Jesus is about to disappoint them, BIG TIME. 

Jesus came to earth to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came that we might have new life in Him. Jesus came so that the gospel of salvation would be spread to the entire world. The time of God’s favor has arrived and it will go beyond the Jews to the entire world. This is a time of spiritual favor, not the physical favor that the Jews wanted and expected. 


Spiritual Favor 

A short time before Jesus came back to Nazareth, He spoke to Nicodemus, a great teacher in Israel, (John 3). He told Nicodemus that in order to be born again, one must be born of water and the Spirit. He then told Nicodemus that this message will go beyond the Jewish nation to the entire world, (John 3:16). There’s two aspects of Jesus that frustrate the Jewish leaders: 


  1. His work is spiritual 
  2. His work is going to spread beyond Israel to the Gentiles.


Shortly after Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus, he departs for Galilee. On His way, he stops in Samaria and visits with the woman at the well. The Jews do not like the Samaritans. But Jesus loves the world (John 3:16) and the favorable time of the Messiah is now. Jesus begins His outreach ministry by taking the gospel to the Samaritans, through the woman at the well. 

Just like the Jews, the Samaritan woman at the well initially thinks in terms of the physical. Jesus speaks of living water but she thinks in terms of the physical.


She said to him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?’ (John 4:11). 


Jesus explained to her that He is not talking about physical water. His message was this: but the water that I will give him will become in [you] a well of water springing up to eternal life, (John 4:14).

The living water that is spiritual and is within us. The woman finally gets it (unlike Nicodemus) and spreads the word around Samaria. What happened?  


From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified. John 4:39. 


Spiritual favor (salvation) came to the spiritually poor, the spiritual prisoners and the spiritually blind of Samaria. Praise God!!! 

Jesus’ ministry continues today. The favorable time of the Lord is here for you today! Today is the day of salvation! 


Back to Nazareth 

After Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and the woman at the well, Jesus heads back to Galilee and his hometown of Nazareth. Things go bad in Nazareth. I provided this context of the spiritual versus the physical so that you could understand why the people of His hometown suddenly wanted to throw Him off a cliff. We’ll dig in further next time. 


Father, we are so grateful that You care about the spiritually poor, blind, the lost and oppressed. Because that is who we are. We are in need of a Savior! You bid us to come and You will clothe us in Your riches and bless us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We receive You in humility and with gratitude. Amen!