If Jesus’ announcement of his Messiah-ministry — “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:14-21) — should be understood only in a spiritual sense, not speaking to the physical and material dimensions of human life, why did Jesus illustrate it with references to a widow and a leper? (vv.25-27)
Jesus came to redeem the Father’s lost children from all kinds of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. Because the core of our being is spiritual — our creation in God’s image — we cannot be redeemed and set free unless we are redeemed and set free in spirit. But that is only the beginning of our salvation. The Almighty One intends to set us free from all kinds of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression — for us to experience abundant life in every dimension, the way God created us to enjoy life. Our mission as followers of Jesus is to take the Good News of redemption and freedom to every person who suffers in the darkness, to show them how to have abundant life in every dimension of their lives. Our “missional” program must be designed to address life in all those dimensions.
Jesus’ good news that “the time of the Lord’s favor has come” is good news for your whole life. It permeates every fiber of your being and seeps into every aspect of your life. If we are to experience Jesus’ salvation, we must pull down the barriers and remove the obstacles that try to keep the river of life dammed up in just one area. Let God’s endless river of life flood into your existence, sweeping away everything that falls short and bringing your desert to life. His salvation brings wholeness and holiness. Your life will be a living example of God’s justice in this world.
Then you can join Jesus in proclaiming that justice to everyone who suffers in poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression.