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)
I am poor, imprisoned, blind, oppressed (mostly a victim of my own oppression). I need good news, freedom, healing and most of all, the Lord's favor. The words above are Jesus' words, proclaimed at the very beginning of his ministry. Jesus and justice go hand in hand. The Lord's favor is on all people, and it is our exposure to that favor that we are transformed. This word that Jesus spoke came immediately after the temptations in the wilderness.
We can find other ways to make bread. We can find other ways to gain power and authority. We can also find other ways to protect ourselves from injury. But the power and direction of Jesus life was unswervingly focused on the Father in heaven, releasing people from captivity, speaking truth, and bearing consequences. Healing, freedom for captives and sight for the blinded was a threat to the status quo. In our culture today, who is threatened by healing? I love the way Julie Rodgers talks about her life and experiences.
What was God’s vision for how we would thrive? How do I live into His story with the whole of my life? How do I honor Him with my heart, mind, body, and soul? What could possibly carry this inadequate hooligan other than God’s grace and His grace alone?
-John M Troyer