Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 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, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
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. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ Luke 4:14-21
This could be thought of as the manifesto of Jesus. He was setting out his mission as the Son of God, the Servant King.
Jesus had gone to worship at the synagogue in his hometown, and all the eyes of the people were fastened on him. There was great expectation. They were hoping for a sign, a sign that he was God’s Messiah, the one who would deliver the people from the oppression of Rome and bring political change.
He read to the people from the prophet Isaiah. Those words had been written many centuries before and described the deliverance of the people of Israel from exile in Babylon. There was a much deeper meaning though, pointing to a time when true freedom would come to the people. Jesus was saying there’s a worse poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression.
This is what the Christian faith is all about. Jesus is central to the Bible, and the central message of the Bible is of God reaching out in love to humankind, and he reaches out supremely through the Cross of Jesus. Offering us release from spiritual poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression.