January 15, 2018

Jesus, the Kingdom Messenger

Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:14-21

Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

—  Luke 4:21

Isaiah 61 presents a vision of life restored in the kingdom of God. But those promises did not fully take shape until Jesus proclaimed at the beginning of his ministry, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus’ message was a declaration of grace and forgiveness. “The year of the Lord’s favor” —also known as the Year of Jubilee—was an announcement of “liberty throughout the land” (Leviticus 25:10). Those who had sold away their family land or given themselves in slavery because they were poor would have their inheritance returned to them. The oppressed, the prisoners, and slaves to wealth would all experience God’s abundant grace.

Do you ever feel left out of God’s plan, removed from the Spirit’s presence, or alienated from the abundant grace of Jesus? This first sermon of Jesus is a divine message for you. Are you discouraged by tragedies in your life? Are you a prisoner to depression or guilt? Are you enslaved to excess appetites, or to your own pride and financial power? Jubilee liberty and freedom are yours in Jesus.

The kingdom of God includes forgiveness of sins, release from captivity, and jubilee joy. Forgive as you have been for­given, and enjoy the life of grace.

The Year of Jubilee, the time of God’s favor, has arrived in Jesus. Thank you, Lord, that our lives can be filled with grace, abundant joy, freedom, and liberty because Jesus’ powerful message is a word for today. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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