The completed mission of Jesus

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27 January, 2019Simon Dent

After his baptism and temptation Jesus is filled with the Spirit of God for God’s task. This task was prophesied by Isaiah centuries before and Jesus knows that it is fulfilled in him. That task is to proclaim good new to the poor, freedom to captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed and the present time of God’s favour and grace to the world. He proclaims it. It’s an announcement, not an instruction. It’s no longer even a promise. That’s why it is good news. It’s not fake news or an empty promise. It’s a promise fulfilled and a promise that continues to change the world. 

1 ‘Shout it aloud, do not hold back.

    Raise your voice like a trumpet.

Declare to my people their rebellion

    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.

For day after day they seek me out;

    they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right

    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions

    and seem eager for God to come near them.

“Why have we fasted,” they say,

    “and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves,

    and you have not noticed?”

‘Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please

    and exploit all your workers.

Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife,

    and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

    and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,

    only a day for people to humble themselves?

Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed

    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call a fast,

    a day acceptable to the Lord?

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

    and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

    and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18  ‘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,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’

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