Thursday 26 July 2012 -- #235
News of the ministry
We have just finished our accounting of the past financial year (July to June) and we were thrilled to see again how many have stood with us and made this internet ministry possible as well as allowing us to plan for the future. We thank the Father for you, your prayers, and your support. We are so blessed to be able to share the positive Word of God.
Do you want us to continue our discussion on the mission statement of Jesus in Luke 4? If so, we need to hear from you. And be sure to check out our Home Page, where we have featured the last three blog posts.
Opening up your vision
[We continue with our discussion of the mission statement of Jesus in Luke 4:18, "To set at liberty those who are oppressed."]
We are ready to start that section which says "He has sent me to proclaim... recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18 ESV). I have deliberately put those two things together in this teaching and I think they belong together as one statement. In Isaiah 61:1, where Jesus Christ was reading from, there is no mention of "recovering of sight to the blind," so where did that part come from?
It is of interest to know why the apparent contradiction between Isaiah and Luke. The answer is simple. Jesus amplified the statement of Isaiah when He read from it, as
recorded in Luke. In other words, what Jesus did was to read part of the passage and then added his own comment before he continued reading the passage, much like I do when I teach. The passage in Isaiah 61 from the Amplified Version reads,"the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound." Now why would the Amplified bring those two concepts together in Isaiah? I had to check this further and the actual meaning of the words in Isaiah, in the Hebrew, is not the opening of the prison but the opening up of your vision. And this is where the recovery of sight to the blind comes from.
We have taught earlier about deliverance for captives, so that covers the material prison side of the situation. What we're reading about here is opening up the vision to see that you don't need to be oppressed any longer.
Jesus was to proclaim liberty to those who are oppressed. The Amplified Bible says the oppressed are those "who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity." For these people, we need to open up their vision. It is not a case of opening a prison door but opening up their vision so that they can see there is a better life beyond what they are enduring at the present moment, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The word "oppressed" in the Greek is in what is called the "middle voice". This means the fact described is done by the person involved to themselves. "Active voice" means I do the action. "Passive voice" means somebody does the action to me. This is an important key here, because when Jesus said that he came to set at liberty those who are oppressed, he's talking about helping those who are oppressing themselves.
It has been well said that "It's not what happens around me, it's not what happens to me, but it's what happens in me that makes the difference whether I have a successful life or not." There are multitudes of people who have that happy knack of oppressing themselves; making themselves miserable, making themselves unhappy, because they feel they cannot have success in life. But it is not true. Jesus came to set at liberty those who are oppressing themselves. It all comes back to attitude.
I find in the Word of God that there are actually two kinds of oppression. There is that kind of oppression where I oppress myself (or depress myself) and there is the kind of oppression that the Bible says is attributable to Satan. Yet actually both kinds are the same, because Satan cannot oppress me unless I allow him to do so. Acts 10:38, in the summary of the ministry of Jesus Christ, says "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." And I would remind you the relationship of that summary to Luke 4:18, where Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has anointed me to do this and that.
So not only do we have in Luke 4:18 the commission of Jesus Christ, in Acts 10:38 we have the historical record that He fulfilled the commission. He went around "doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." What a beautiful statement! So there is help available and if you feel that your circumstances are really dragging you down, Jesus Christ came to say it doesn't have to be the case. If you want to be dragged down, they will drag you down. But if you want to rise above them, he's given you wings as of an eagle so that with the power of the Christ within you, you can rise above them.
-- Peter Wade [To be continued]