“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, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Lukas 4:18-21
These are the words of Yeshua, when He was invited on a shabbat in the synagogue of Nazareth to read the parashah. (The parashah is the traditional Jewish Bible reading schedule.) The section that was on the schedule that week was Isaiah 61. And after Yeshua read this part, He explained that this text is about Him.
The promises that Yeshua gives here, using the inspired words of Isaiah, are not meant to take literally. He preached the Gospel to the literal rich as well, and He did not release literal captives through His teaching. We can therefore assume that the blind people He mentions can be understood spiritually as well. Moreover, a literal and a spiritual meaning do not have to exclude each other, they can complement each other.
What promises does Yeshua make in this text?
… to preach the gospel to the poor
The Gospel Yeshua preached was the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 9:35, Luke 4:43). The Kingdom within us, in our heart and mind (Luke 17:21). This is an invaluable treasure. The treasure in the field we want to sell everything for (Matthew 13:44) (1). The treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Yeshua (Colossians 2:2-3). If you have a treasure, you are no longer poor. And the Sermon on the Mount states that it is given to the ‘poor in spirit’:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
We are poor of our own spirit when His Spirit of truth (John 14:16) is fully in our hearts and minds. When we let the spirit of our mind be renewed through His teaching, His preaching of the Gospel (Eph. 4:21, 23). He must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).
Are you poor in (your own) mind? Have you found that treasure yet?
… heal the brokenhearted
The treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Yeshua also heals our heart. This becomes clear in Proverbs 4, where it says that we should not forsake wisdom because it will preserve and keep us (verse 6). We must not forsake His words of wisdom and truth, we must keep them in the midst of our heart. Because they are life and health for us, for our heart (verses 21-23). Lies and delusions break our heart. When we fill our broken heart with His words of truth, our heart heals from lies and delusions. His truth destroys the lies and delusions. (2)
Are you brokenhearted? Fill your heart with His words of truth.
… to preach deliverance to the captives
Yeshua says here, using the inspired words of Isaiah, that captives are delivered by His teaching. It are is His words of truth that set us free (John 8:31-32). Lies and delusions in our mind and heart, which is sin (Genesis 6: 5), keep us imprisoned. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The thoughts of the flesh (sin, lies and delusions) is death, but the thoughts of the Spirit of truth is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
Do you feel completely free? Or are you still a captive somehow? Fill your heart and mind with His words of truth.
… recovering of sight to the blind
The Light of the world recovers the sight of the spiritual blind (John 9:5). He came into this world so that those who did not see would see (John 9:39). If we think that we see, but in reality do not see, then we remain in our sin (John 9:41). If we do not really ‘see’ His truth, then we remain in our lies and delusions. And that keeps us imprisoned. (3)
“ But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:16
Do you fully see His light? Or are there still lies and delusions in your mind and heart that obstruct your sight somehow?
… set at liberty them that are bruised
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
When we are set free through His gospel of the Kingdom, through His words of truth and wisdom, He sends us out to proclaim freedom to others also.
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7
What do you preach to others?
Back to the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8