January 23

Luke 4:17b-21

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…” vs. 18

When Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah he chose to read a portion of chapter 61. It was the scripture that had come to his mind as he had wrestled with ministry options in the wilderness. It almost seems as though he chose this verse as his personal mission statement. By choosing it he was declaring that the Spirit was sending him to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free. In him Isaiah’s vision for Israel would finally find fulfillment. Jesus wasn’t just blowing smoke–he spent his life reaching out to the poor and the oppressed and after his death and resurrection  that work continued in his Body, and through the centuries the Church has brought relief and restoration to millions. Even today we see countless congregations who devote their energies to this  purpose. The poor and the homeless are being served, the hungry are being fed, victims of disasters are being helped, refugees are being supported, and asylum seekers are being welcomed. All of these “social ministries” are not add-ons to the work of congregations. They are the core of the gospel, and following in the footsteps of Jesus, this is what we have been called to do!

Thought for the Day: What biblical verse is my mission statement?

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