Rev. & Mrs. Kenneth Fellenbaum
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Why Christ Came
At the Advent season, it is important that we rehearse why Christ came. Christmas has become such a secular and commercial event that we need to be reminded of the spiritual reason God sent his Son. After his baptism by John and temptation from the devil, Jesus began his public ministry in Galilee. Luke describes Jesus' early ministry this way: it was in the power of the Holy Spirit, news of his miracles was rapidly spreading and he was teaching in the synagogues (Luke 4:14-15).
Early in Jesus' ministry, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, "As was his custom." Notice that it was the Lord's habit to attend public worship on the Sabbath. He was given the opportunity to read from the Scriptures. The passage from the Prophets to be read was Isaiah 61: “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).
Then Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. To us this may indicate that he was finished, but in that day the teachers sat while they taught. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him and he said to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:20-21).
It is more than a coincidence that Jesus read these words of prophecy. The term "anointed one" is definitely Messianic and the description of Messiah's reason for coming clear. The first thing mentioned is the preaching of the Gospel or "good news" to the poor. While God cares about those living in poverty, here the term refers to spiritual poverty (see Matthew 5:3 and Luke 18:9-14). Secondly, Christ came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners--to emancipate those held in bondage (by whatever). Thirdly, Jesus restored sight to the blind (five different cases are recorded in the New Testament). Fourthly, he released the oppressed. Observe the physical and spiritual nature of the Lord's work mentioned in these phrases.
Jesus abruptly stopped in the middle of a verse: "To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." The sentence concludes with these words, "and the day of the vengeance of our God." Today is a time of grace and opportunity but a time for judgment will come. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let every heart prepare him room!”