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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 10, 2005

The Spirit of the Lord God has taken control of me!
The Lord has chosen and sent me
to tell the oppressed the good news,
to heal the brokenhearted,
and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives.

Isaiah 61:1 (CEV*)

The Gospel of Luke (see Luke 4:16-21) shows Jesus reading this passage in the synagogue and declaring his fulfillment of the message at the beginning of his ministry. Surely this is something appropriate to reflect upon in this season when the Christian church focuses on the coming of Jesus.

Jesus came to bring good news to the oppressed, healing to those whose hearts are broken, and freedom for the captives. Jesus did not accomplish this all in the outward sense when he declared the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, but he did spiritually. Regardless of one's outward circumstances, the Gospel tells us that there is a sure hope and true freedom in the Spirit.

If this passage shows an important part of who Jesus Christ is, it also shows the body of Christ, the church, who we are if we are faithful. We are to give hope and encouragement to those who are oppressed in mind, body and spirit. As Jesus' message of hope and healing was lived out in deeds (such as healings) as well as words, so are we to live out this calling through works of charity and seeking to change the conditions that oppress people, not only by sharing the message in words.

This prophetic call is a challenge which we all need to reflect upon. Do I, as an individual Christian, and does my faith community, as a part of the body of Christ, live out the good news to the oppressed, the healing of the brokenhearted and freedom for the captives? Have we allowed the spirit of the Lord God to take control of us?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2005 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 17-Dec-2005 16:58:55 EST