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To Whom Was Jesus Sent?

09 Aug
from Google Images

from Google Images

I find it interesting that, when Jesus was born, there was no room for him in society.[1] No one even knew of his coming, except perhaps Mary and Joseph and John the Baptist’s parents. The wise men who sought him, because they looked for the fulfillment of the promise of his coming, thought he would be among the great of society, or at least they believed that certainly the powerful would have been alerted of his arrival (Matthew 2:1-3). A glaring charge against the powerful religious figures of the time is that, although they knew where Jesus was to be born (Matthew 2:4-6), they didn’t seek him with the Magi who came from the East! Is it any wonder that God didn’t announce Jesus’ birth to them? Rather he visited shepherds, and it was they who found him on the night he was born, and stirred up society by informing others (Luke 2:8-18). Yet, it is telling, is it not, that the rich and powerful weren’t moved, until believers of their own rank came seeking Jesus (Matthew 2)?

If not to the rich and powerful of Jesus’ day, to whom was he sent? Luke 4:18-19 tells us that, when Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, after he had been baptized by John and tempted after his anointing, he stood up to read the word of God in his synagogue:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19 NET.)

Just as it was at the time of Jesus’ birth, there was no room for Jesus in proper society, when it was time for him to begin his public ministry. The authorities in his hometown tried to kill him then (Luke 4:28-29), just as Herod tried to do just after he was born (Matthew 2:16). Just as at the time of Jesus’ birth, God announced the coming of Jesus to the outcasts of society, Jesus announced he was sent to the outcasts—the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed. These were the folks the religious leaders should have helped, but they didn’t. The poor couldn’t support their evangelistic endeavors that made their disciples twice the child of hell as they were (Matthew 23:15), so the poor never really received any good news from them.

Jesus says he was sent to release the captives, those who felt the burden of their society. They are those whose responsibilities have become so great that they were ready to collapse under the load, nigh onto giving up all hope for fulfillment in life. These were the folks the religious leaders should have been ministering to, but they didn’t. Rather, they were careful in all their duties wherein they could be praised (Matthew 6:2) and for which they were renown (Matthew 23:23a), but they neglected the weightier matters of their calling (Matthew 23:23b), which was preaching the good news of God by easing the burden of their brethren, and visiting them in their days of want and heavy responsibility.

Jesus announced that he was sent to give sight to the blind, the tax collectors and sinners who were able to see the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of their day (Matthew 23:24-28), but couldn’t see the light of God’s good news for them, that they were loved and had a place in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 9:10-13; 21:31b).

Jesus said he was sent to the oppressed—to those who have been beaten up by society, to those like Martin Luther King was sent to set at liberty. Jesus was sent to the defeated and demoralized to give them victory, to help them “overcome”. These the religious leaders should have been serving, but they didn’t. Rather than giving folks the good news of a loving God, they so packaged and bundled the word of God with rules and words of judgment that folks simply staggered under the weight of their burden. Rather than calling folks to feast on God’s goodness, kindness and mercy, the religious leaders seemed to enjoy the oppressed state of folks, no doubt in order that they could revel in self-praise in that they perceived they could do what others could not (Matthew 23:1-7). Nevertheless Jesus gave himself for others to feast upon (John 6:32-35). He healed their sick, raised their dead and welcomed them to partake of the Kingdom of God.

The problem is that religious folk of the first century AD and even today would rather condemn those who already condemn themselves. What people need is love—the good news of the love of God expressed in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The crowd to whom Jesus was sent was the outcasts, those neglected by the rich and powerful of their day. The rich and powerful, as a rule, have no room for Jesus, and would have no room for the word or the work of God, unless they could exploit it for gain. Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to do what the rich and powerful refuse to do. The question is, since I’ve been anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, what am I going to do with that anointing? What are you going to do with your anointing?

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Jesus

 

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