Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Observation: Jesus was teaching in the synagogue as He read these verses from Isaiah 61. Upon finishing, He simply closed the book, handed it back to the attendant, and said to the hushed crowd, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in Your hearing” (Luke 4:21).

Application: Wow! The dividing line of the ages was drawn in that one statement. He threw down a gauntlet of love that requires me decide on which side I will stand. The poor were now to have the Gospel preached to them, captives would be set free, the blind would recover their sight, and the downtrodden would be set free from oppression. And to all, He proclaimed the favorable year of the Lord.

Has a thirsting heart ever been more thoroughly slaked? Has a hungry soul ever partaken of a more lavish spread? Has the yearning to be free, whole, and restored to perfection ever been more tantalizingly fulfilled than in this passage? Jesus simply and outrageously declares that in Him these deepest of human longings are fulfilled. He perfectly understands the needs of broken men and women everywhere, and says that He alone can fix them. 

The dividing line thus drawn represents a profound decision time for every man, woman, and child who ever lived. To those who know their need, who would confess that despite their accomplishments they remain poor, bound, blind, and oppressed—to those He proclaims perfect and lasting freedom. But many in the crowd then, as now, stubbornly resisted this best of all offers. Just a few verses later it is reported that the people in the synagogue were filled with rage, and that they led Jesus to the edge of a cliff, intending to throw over the best, most wonderful gift ever offered them (see Luke 4:28-29).

This Jesus, this dividing line, requires a response from me today. Such response must be far more profound than merely to walk an aisle. No, to receive what He offers requires that He be allowed to scour my heart of all uncleanness, to absolutely ruin me for anything but passion for Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I confess to You my poverty, my profound lack without You at the center of my life. Fill me afresh today with the love of Your Holy Spirit. Shine Your light into every dark corner of my life, Lord, that I might live today in the freedom and peace only You can give.