Here's some notes, quotes and anecdotes from the sermon.....
Have you ever had high expectations for something only to find out the thing you were expecting wasn’t even close to the real thing at all?
Read Isaiah 61. It’s easy to understand why the Jews were so excited about the coming Messiah. This man who was promised by God to come, was going to come and change Israel’s entire existence.
In this prophecy Isaiah declares that when the day of the Lord comes, when the time of His favor returns, it will bring with it complete restoration for the people of Israel.
The restoration declared in Isaiah is the kind of restoration God does in the lives of people who love him! He takes people who are damaged by sin, who have rust on their relationships, who aren’t functioning as they are designed to, people with hurts and hang-ups and habits, people who like Humpty Dumpty, can’t put the broken pieces of their lives back together on their own, and because of His great love He steps in and He restores them to be beautiful, valuable and functional.
Read Luke 4:16-20. I hope you caught what happened there because it is very significant. In saying that the Scripture he just read was fulfilled, Jesus is declaring himself the Messiah.
There are 2 parts to the work of Messiah. There is a NOW and a THEN. The first part, the NOW, is Jesus announcement that He is the Messiah they were expecting, and the Lord’s favor has returned. The THEN will come later when the day of the Lord's vengeance comes.
This is what I want to focus on with you - that NOW is the day of salvation. What does that mean? According to Jesus it means that NOW is the time 4 things are going to happen. Jesus says that he has come to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recover the sight of the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed.
Church the fact is, to be a fully devoted biblical Christian means that we must take serious both the physical and spiritual implications of Jesus words. It is a both/and issue, never an either/or. We must be concerned with the entire person, both body and soul.
When it comes to matters of the soul, even the richest people in the world, are just as poor before God as the lowliest man on earth. (cf. Rom 3:23, Isaiah 64:6, Eph 2:1-2)
So here’s what we need to grab hold of. Jesus has proclaimed us free from our captivity and victorious over our oppression. (cf. John 8:38)
We need Jesus to restore sight to our eyes which have been blinded by Satan. (2 Cor 4:4) And that must be our prayer for our family, friends and community who do not know Jesus. Their eyes are blind and they need their sight restored. And only Jesus does that!
Jesus does not bring the Favorable Year of the Lord in a forceful way. Rather, Jesus the Messiah is born in a humble manager, in a stable, in the quiet of the night. And the call of Jesus to freedom does not come from heralds in King’s palaces on earth, but from heralds in the King’s palace in the sky.
It moves me this Christmas to think that the first cries of “Freedom!” came through the small cries of an infant.