“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD”. Luke 4:18, 19
Since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s will for them (holiness, health and happiness), all of mankind under the rule of Satan is in great need; for all experience the consequences of Adam’s disobedience (sin, sickness and sorrow). But God in His great mercy sent Jesus to destroy the works of the Devil, so that all who believe may once more experience holiness, health and happiness in Christ.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
Mary’s Song (the Magnificat): Luke 1:46-56
Mary (and Miriam, Deborah and Hannah before her) praises God for His goodness to her and to all mankind in all ages. He is the God who has blessed her individually and the God who blesses and provides for His people. She is especially blessed for she will give birth to the Messiah through whom God will bless the world.
Mary’s hymn expresses praise to God for his treatment of her, but then extends her praise to how God has treated the righteous throughout the ages and how he will vindicate them fully in the future.
He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. Luke 1:49-53
Jesus’ Mission Statement
In the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21), Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 and proclaimed that this was His mission statement…“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Not only did Christ state His mission, He demonstrated it in His ministry…men saw and heard that He brought physical, mental and spiritual healing to those in need of it.
When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Luke 7:20-23 (and Matthew 11:3-5)
Jesus’ mission statement is ours too. This is what He calls us to do if we call ourselves His disciples:
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7, 8
Since Adam and Eve sinned, every human being born into this world is born with the sickness of sin. This can manifest itself in various ways; a mind that refuses to be controlled by God, but rather by self and Satan; a spirit that does not submit itself to God. This leads to unholy and unrighteous living with its attendant consequences of guilt and shame. This mental state caused by sin leads to many illnesses (psychosomatic disease). Furthermore, since the whole creation is fallen, our physical bodies can develop disease through no obvious fault of our own.
But God had compassion upon us and sent Jesus to heal us.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38
Jesus attitude to the helpless is often described as ‘compassion’ in the gospels, which abound with the stories of Christ’s healing.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matthew 14:14
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. Matthew 15:32
Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Mark 1:40, 41
When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Luke 7:13-15
Jesus Cleanses the Temple: Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-28, John 2:13-17
God requires spiritual worship, the worship of the heart. Where this is absent, all external forms and rituals and symbols have no value whatsoever. This is the lesson Jesus taught in clearing the temple. The gospel writers recognised the importance of it and every one of them recorded it in their account of Jesus’ ministry.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23, 24
With searching glance, Christ takes in the scene before Him as He stands upon the steps of the temple court. With prophetic eye He looks into futurity, and sees not only years, but centuries and ages. He sees how priests and rulers will turn the needy from their right, and forbid that the gospel shall be preached to the poor. He sees how the love of God will be concealed from sinners, and men will make merchandise of His grace… The confusion is hushed. The sound of traffic and bargaining has ceased. The silence becomes painful. A sense of awe overpowers the assembly. It is as if they were arraigned before the tribunal of God to answer for their deeds. Looking upon Christ, they behold divinity flash through the garb of humanity. The Majesty of heaven stands as the Judge will stand at the last day,—not now encircled with the glory that will then attend Him, but with the same power to read the soul. His eye sweeps over the multitude, taking in every individual. His form seems to rise above them in commanding dignity, and a divine light illuminates His countenance. He speaks, and His clear, ringing voice—the same that upon Mount Sinai proclaimed the law that priests and rulers are transgressing—is heard echoing through the arches of the temple: “Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise.” Desire of Ages: p.157-8.
The Cross of Christ
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken (cursed), smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:3-6
In this sublime passage, Isaiah tells us what Christ accomplished for mankind by His death on the Cross.
Mankind thinks Christ was stricken and cursed of God. Yes, He was cursed by God, but not for His actions. He, the Sinless One, bore the curse that was ours; the curse of sin.
He bore the punishment that brought us peace (Ephesians 2:12-16, Rom 5:10). While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
Like sheep that go astray, we are full of iniquity, always crooked and bent, always choosing our own way. Christ has borne the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. Isaiah 53:7, 8
He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He opened not His mouth, because He was providing Himself a Lamb (Genesis 22:8). Messiah will be ‘cut off’, but not for Himself (Daniel 9:26), but for the transgression of His people. ‘Yet who of His generation considered that He was cut for the transgression of my people to whom the blow was due?’ (NIV margin).
God the Father was at Calvary:
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
It was the Father’s will to make His Son’s life an offering for the sin of the world (Galatians 3:13, John 3:16).
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14
The Father had to bruise (crush) His Son. The Father had to put His Son to grief. The Father had to take His beloved Son’s life and make His soul an offering for sin, by putting Him to death, the second death, the death that is the wages of sin.
And then, with prophetic vision, Isaiah looks beyond the Cross and sees the risen Christ. He records the triumph of His victory over sin and death and its meaning to humankind.
He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11
God will be satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son and raise Him to life (Acts 2:32).
Many will be justified (declared righteous) – Romans 5:18, 19.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Isaiah 53:12 Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors… therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong…
By His sacrifice, Christ has vanquished Satan (Luke 10:18) and regained earth (Luke 11:22, John 12:31).
Today we are called to carry out Christ’s mission to the world as described in Luke 4:18, 19. Are we willing to follow in His footsteps? It will require self-denial, patience and compassion for all who do not know the glorious gospel of God. It will definitely take us out of our comfort zones. But we have ever before us the Example of One who gave up heaven to come down to earth and destroy the works of the devil by His death at Calvary. Looking unto Him, we shall not count anything too much to save one soul. And one day soon, we shall hear His voice saying to us, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ In His presence, we shall have joy eternal and the joy of knowing that we have led many to life everlasting by introducing them to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
‘And you shall be named the priests of the Lord…the servants of our God.’ Isaiah 61:6