18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19

Many people have said Jesus never claimed to be God– that He was a good man and a powerful teacher, a humanitarian and an example we should follow, but that He didn’t actually claim to be more than that and His followers added the “divine” part.


Take for instance this moment in the synagogue in Nazareth, His hometown. He showed up on a Sabbath day like He’d always done and volunteered to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He found the place where our verse of the day was written (a verse written in the eighth century BC about the coming Messiah) and read it out loud. Then He sat down and said, “21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (v.21).

Um, excuse me?

How crazy that statement must’ve seemed to the people who’d attended a gazillion Shabbat services with Jesus. He’d grown up in their small town, sat under the rabbis’ teaching, played games with kids in the street, whittled wood with His dad, and– according to the Bible– wasn’t above average in any visible way.

And during Jesus’ life of thirty years (not to mention the four hundred prior), the people were eagerly waiting for the Messiah– the one who would be king and liberate them from oppressive Roman rule. At least, that’s what they assumed the Messiah would be and do. But they misunderstood the prophecies.

To proclaim good news to the poor.

Jesus came preaching heaven, its riches, its beauty, its infinity, and its availability. He came with the message that there’s more to life than what we see– more for those literally disenfranchised and more for those impoverished in their souls.

To proclaim liberty to the captives.

Jesus wasn’t a political liberator; He was a spiritual liberator. He came to pronounce freedom from the sin that enslaves and all the eternal consequences it ensures.

Recovering of sight to the blind.

Jesus healed people physically, but the physical healing was only a picture of what was necessary spiritually. Jesus came to open people’s eyes and hearts to their sin, to their need for help and mercy, and to His desire and ability to restore them.

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Jesus and the gift of salvation He would offer expressed God’s favor toward us, a world in desperate need of Him.

Jesus was indeed a good man and a powerful teacher, one who was kind and loving and inclusive and all that. But He also claimed to be the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy regarding the one who would save the world. And on that Sabbath day in His quiet hometown, He proclaimed it in a way no one in the room misunderstood.

The long-foretold Messiah you’ve been preaching about in your synagogues for centuries?

I’m Him.


Thank God for His heart for the oppressed, ask Him to give you that same heart, and then ask Him for courage to proclaim the good news as boldly as Jesus did.


  • Which of Jesus’ character qualities most stand out to you in this story?
  • Why do you think Jesus began His three years of ministry with this particular public display in His hometown?
  • What are ways you can display the same love for those Jesus came for as the prophecies indicate?