Jesus could have chosen any scripture, any verse, on any day. The day He sat in the synagogue and the scroll of Isaiah was handed to Him, He decided this would be the passage that marked the commencement of His public ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).
The good news of Jesus has flesh-and-blood implications for the oppressed— not just in heaven, but here on earth, right now. Let’s not gloss over that as we move through the world as His followers. The Lord’s favor looks like the abolishing of poverty, imprisonment, blindness, and oppression. When we fight for the flourishing and wellness and justice of our neighbors, we’re proclaiming the ministry of Jesus.
This ministry announcement echoed through time: the serpent’s head crushed by the heel of Eve’s son; the Passover lamb; the liberator of the enslaved; the serpent lifted up by Moses to heal the sick; the manna and living water in the desert, given to a weary and hungry people; the Suffering Servant and Root of Jesse; the Great Shepherd; the bringer of perfect justice and perfect peace that the prophets foretold; the One the angels rejoiced about, telling lowly, lonely shepherds about the baby who would bring good news to all people.
This Jesus ministered to the hungry, the humble, the sinners, the poor, and the diseased—the people with no pretense of being able to repay His kindness. The ones acutely aware of their need, their brokenness.
He brought His disciples along to show them that sharing the good news is as impossible as feeding five thousand or giving sight to a person blind from birth. We cannot do it—not without Him.
He was lifted up, crucified, to show us the cost of pursuing righteousness in a broken world.
But He did not stay dead. He rose again with all power, and that teaches us too— why not give this body and soul to relentlessly follow the Savior, when, after all, His Spirit will raise us too?
And He asks us as He asked Peter, post-resurrection: Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.