WHAT DID JESUS SAY? He said a lot when He was here on earth but one day when he was in the local synagogue at Nazareth where He had been brought up. He was handed “the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read. This is what the scroll said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 NIV). Jesus quit reading and sat down and then He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” I can imagine that at that time you could hear a pin drop in the synagogue. Jesus, in reading this passage from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 62:1-2), and applying it to Himself as “the anointed one” was claiming to be the Messiah. When He said that “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” that is exactly what He meant.
Now what Jesus says about Himself in this passage gives us as His followers some guidelines for living our lives on a daily basis. In fact this passage gives the essence of the gospel message that Jesus taught and lived in His time on earth. And He expanded and expounded His teachings concerning these things in His sermons to follow and in His actions and miracles portraying these teachings. As the Spirit of the Lord was on Jesus in a special way when He walked the earth so that He did exactly the Father’s will so the Spirit of God indwells and empowers us today that we might do the Father’s will if we will submit to the Spirit. While walking in the power of the Spirit Jesus did four things that marked His ministry as stated in these verses. We will just touch on one today and the others tomorrow. He proclaimed the good news of the arrival of God’s salvation to the poor. This was both the physically poor and the spiritually poor. No more waiting on the Messiah because he had arrived with good news for the downtrodden and the rejected of society. Both the rich materially and the poor materially can be spiritually poor, separated from God and really downtrodden in life. But the good news is that Jesus came to save both. And as Jesus did we also need to minister to the physical needs of both those who are poor and those who are rich. Jesus put action to His words.
At Jesus birth and soon afterward both the poor (shepherds) and the rich (Wisemen) were introduced to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Both classes needed a Savior. During Jesus’ later ministry in life He touched the lives of the poor and the rich and they were all poor spiritually and in need of salvation. And as the Savior and Messiah the baby of Bethlehem provided all that was needed to bring God and man together. Christmas is a good reminder of how Jesus walked and worked among the poor and needy. Should we not do the same?