16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.
17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
18 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 to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Jesus knew these Scriptures backwards and forwards. Not only was He able to debate and discuss the Bible from a very young age (Luke 2:41-50), but He never ceased to speak it. As we saw in verse 16 (italics mine):
"As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read."
Other translations render the phrase thus:
"As was His custom..."
"... according to His custom"
"... as his custom was"
But today was different. Today He was doing much more than simply quoting Scripture. Today He was fulfilling centuries-old prophecy. The prophet Isaiah had written the very same words more than 700 years prior:
1 "The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor..."
Isaiah had written this about the Jewish Messiah, which in Hebrew is Mashiach, for "Anointed One," and in Greek, "Christos," from which word we get the name "Christ."
Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will "euaggelizō" or "preach the Good News" to the poor.
"Euaggelion" is the Greek word from which we get the word, "evangel," or Gospel.
It is the same word from which comes "Injil," the Arabic word for Gospel.
And what is that "good news," this Gospel that Messiah will bring?
Isaiah lists them, and Jesus confirms it. Jesus says He will:
- heal the brokenhearted
- proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, and
- proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
But these are not in reference to the romantically unfortunate or to criminals in prison. Rather they are to a mankind that is wallowing in a miserable spiritual state of sinfulness.
To the "poor," or those who see their painful inadequacy at living in a way that is truly pleasing to God, the Gospel is good news.
To the "brokenhearted," or those who are aware that their sins hinder them from a relationship with God, the Gospel is good news.
To the "captives and prisoners," or those who understand that they are living in bondage to sin and that they can never free themselves from its grip, the Gospel is good news.
To them, Isaiah says, Messiah will proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. And proclaim grace, mercy and salvation, Jesus did.
To all of these, Jesus says, "I Am He."
Jesus is the Good News.
He is the One Who can enrich the poor.
He is the One Who can heal the heartbroken.
He is the One Who can set completely free all who come to Him.
If you don't yet know Jesus as your Savior and Messiah, this is the year of the Lord's favor.
He stands ready to enrich your life, heal your heart and set you free. All you need to do is ask.
Jesus is The Gospel of Isaiah (Luke 4) Part 2