From the negative:
* The “poor” are not those devoid of resources.
* The “captives” are not those locked up in jail.
* The “blind” are not those whose eyes don’t work.
* The “oppressed” are not those who are under the thumb of a human oppressor.
this is not a message about Social Justice, but of the spiritual condition of mankind and what The Messiah intends to do about it.
From the positive:
* The “poor” are those who in their spirit are devoid of the light and grace of God because of the curse of human sin.
* The “captives” are those who believe they are morally free to live however they wish, but do not understand they are living in chains.
** …chained to an unpayable debt to God for violating His law. Matthew 18:23-35
** …chained to Satan, to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:26
** …chained to sin’s demands. John 8:34
* The “blind” are those who have physical eyes that see but have no spiritual sight. John 3:19-20
* The “oppressed” are those buried by life’s demands, especially the demands of the Law which they cannot keep. Luke 11:46
In summary: Jesus made it clear that the only people who can be right with God, are those who HUMBLY accept their true spiritual condition…
Poor ~ Captive ~ Blind ~ Oppressed
…and by FAITH look to the Messiah for relief.
Take Note: As Jesus read the passage from Isaiah, He purposely omitted this line: …and the day of vengeance of our God; …
The way the Jews saw this passage was that the “year of the LORD’s favor” was for the Jews and the “day of vengeance” was for the everyone else, especially the Romans.
Jesus was sending a pointed message: the day of vengeance will come someday, but right now God is bringing His favor upon the world by way of The Gospel.
The initial reaction to Jesus’ words was one of praise. VS22
As the message sank deeper into their hearts, some became skeptical.
What Jesus says next is in direct response to the skepticism that was brewing in their midst. VS23-27
STORY #1: (1 Kings 17)
* God directed Elijah to prophesy a famine in the land.
* This left people, especially widows, in a very tough spot.
* God was moved to help one of widow of the region, the widow from Zarephath, in the land of Sidon. Her location identifys her as a gentile.
* Because of her faith in God and obedience to the request of Elijah, God supernaturally provided all she needed to feed herself and her son while the drought lasted.
What is Jesus driving at? – When people found themselves in need, God responded to a Gentile widow over Jewish widows.
WHY would He do that? – The Jews were under judgement for their unbelief and hardness of heart toward God. But among the gentiles, there was a woman who did believe in Yahweh of The Jews. In HUMILITY she acknowledged her need and by FAITH she trusted God, through His prophet, who was sent to her. It seems the Jewish widows were not of the same mindset.
STORY #2: (2 Kings 5)
Elijah’s successor was Elisha. During his ministry there were many lepers in Israel. Again, Jesus makes the point that God did not give healing to any of the Jewish lepers, only a Gentile, Naaman the Syrian.
Why did God heal Naaman? Because at the end of the day, Naaman was willing to HUMBLE himself and by FAITH trusted the word of God’s Prophet. Because He followed The Lord’s instruction, he was healed of his disease.
Jesus laid some heavy truth down on the people of Nazareth.
* From Isaiah He explained how salvation comes to those who in HUMBLY acknowledge their condition before God and by FAITH look to His Messiah for help.
* He reminds them how God followed this line of action in Israel’s past which yielded nothing for the proud Israelites, but mercy to some humble, repentant, faith filled Gentiles.
TRUTH POINT #2: Jesus wanted the Nazareth worshippers to HUMBLE themselves and by FAITH trust The Messiah, who was addressing them, lest the same fate befall them.
These stories and their implications became the spark that set ablaze a deep-seated anger that boiled over into raging madness.
They dragging Jesus out of the Synagogue, down the path to a nearby cliff, where they intended to throw Him over to His death
When confronted with truth, the worshipers of Nazareth…
* …shut up their hearts,
* …closed down their minds,
* …determined they would have nothing to do with Jesus.
TRUTH POINT #3: Like the Nazareth worshippers, we have two options when confronted with TRUTH; we can HUMBLY accept it or PROUDLY reject it.
When tempted to reject God’s truth, keep in mind the message given us in 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6.
The word “opposes” is from a word that means “to show hostility”
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to put myself in the position of receiving hostility from God. Therefore, the only sane position to take is that of humble acceptance and application of truth.
When you hear the message that says; in our sin we are poor, captive, blind and oppressed, are you humbled, eager to yield to Jesus, or does pride rise up fanning the flames of rejection?
The humble find GRACE
The proud are OPPOSED.