My Dear Parishioners,
Jesus was telling the truth when he claimed to be the fulfillment of the prophets. “Do not think I have come to get rid of what is written in the Law or in the Prophets. I have not come to do that. Instead, I have come to give full meaning to what is written.” All we need do is to think back to his baptism. There you will recall, the Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove as an exact fulfillment of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Isa. 61: 1-2). God the Father also witnessed to Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophets when He said to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus wants to give us the gifts that He purchased for us with his holy life, his suffering, and his death. He wants to give the gifts that he authenticated with his resurrection from the dead. He wants to tell us how his death on the cross has freed us from our captivity, opened our eyes to his salvation, and liberated us from sin’s oppression.
He comes to us as He came to the people of Nazareth in their synagogue. He has given us his teachings in the words of the Holy Bible. He has promised that when we hear his words, the Holy spirit will work in us to establish and strengthen our belief in him. He has promised to put the very name of God on us in Holy Baptism. He has promised to come to us in his very body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. The gifts that Jesus offered to the people in Nazareth will be ours.
Jesus truly is the fulfilment of God’s promises. He is the Anointed One, the Christ , the Messiah. He has preached the Good news of the Kingdom of God. He has shown us the light of his salvation. With his life, suffering, and death on the cross, He has freed those oppressed by sin. With his resurrection, he offers the Lord’s favour to us. He gives these things to us through the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith. God has promised all these things to us and today they are fulfilled in our hearing and presence .
A word about the term “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Evidently, this is an allusion to the jubilee year seen in Leviticus 25: 10, a year of universal release for person and property. It also includes debt forgiveness and a fresh start in life for the average citizen. As the maladies under which humanity groans are here set forth under the names of poverty, broken-heartedness, bondage, blindness, bruisedness, (or crushedness) so, as the glorious Healer of all these sicknesses, Christ announces Himself in the act of reading it, stopping the quotation just before it comes to ‘the day of vengeance,” which was only to come on the rejecters of His message. It should be noted also that the first words, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” have been quoted since the days of the early Church, as an illustrious example of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being exhibited as in distinct yet harmonious action in the scheme of salvation.
How beautiful it is then, when Our Lord Jesus uses the Old Testament to show us what his mission is. Jesus’ mission and ministry is now our mission and ministry. The way he fulfilled it was germane to his time here on earth - the way we fulfill both of them is germane to ours. Jesus’ words in the synagogue that day remind me of people like Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandella, - men who inspired others to be free. Jesus’ words must be reflected in our own lives. We too must figure out how the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. We must think about the ways that ’proclaiming release to the captives’ speaks to us. Such power is expected of each one of us.
With all good wishes and prayers Archdeacon Emeritus