Sunday 23 January 2022

Bible Book:

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.' (vs 18-19)

Luke 4:14-21 Sunday 23 January 2022

Psalm 19


Today's passage tells us that Jesus was beginning his ministry in the power of the Spirit and was well received in synagogues throughout Galilee. It is at this moment that Jesus returns to the synagogue in the town of his upbringing. It's the place where people would know him as Joseph and Mary’s son, the carpenter, but no doubt they had also heard the reports from the region.

Jesus reads the words of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2), written for Hebrew people facing exile and captivity many centuries before Jesus. These words were to bring good news to people that a new time was coming when there would be freedom and refers to 'the year of the Lord's favour'. This is not a literal year, but alludes to the Hebrew concept of the year of jubilee, a period every 50 years when debts would be cancelled, slaves freed, land given rest and property returned to the original owners. It is a promise of a new society, a new deal for creation, under a new kind of leader, a Messiah, the servant leader appointed by God.

These words would have resonated with the people of Jesus’ time, who were oppressed by the Roman state and the leaders of the various puppet leaders of the region. They are words that anticipate something new, even revolutionary; they are words of hope. Yet, as the carpenter who is Joseph's son sits down, he makes a bold claim that these words of hope, longing and liberation have been fulfilled in their hearing. Jesus deliberately claims these words as his own and with it himself as the servant leader, the Messiah.


To Ponder:

  • If you had known Jesus from a child and heard him claim these words, how would you react?
  •  Many people in the world today live in oppression because of our choices in the rich parts of the world. Be it plastic dumps, the effects of climate change or weapons sold to oppressive regimes. What would a 'year of the Lord's favour' in our world mean for you?
  •  These words have been described as 'a Jesus manifesto'. Do you think that is good description? Or how might you re-write the words of Isaiah to fit Jesus' work better?


We pray today for all those who do not experience freedom in whatever form that may be. Help us to be people who will work with each other to bring freedom for all, and for all creation that we may celebrate together with Jesus, the year of the Lord’s favour. Amen.

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