Joy to the World!
Every Christmas season, I read the four gospels and my husband and I watch "Jesus of Nazareth" and "The Jesus Movie". One is produced by the Catholic Church and one by the Pentecostal Church. Both of them are amazing for different reasons. One of my favorite scenes in each of them is the scene where Jesus announces that he is the Messiah in his home synagogue. He reads from Isaiah 61 where is says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." This scripture beautifully explains Christ's mission and ministry in captivating Messianic poetry.
Jesus preached to the meek, those who were outcast, rejected, living seemingly invisible lives on the outskirts of society. That is why he reached out to women, the sick, the diseased, the sinners, the publicans and the poor more than he reached out to the rich and mighty. He continues to reach out to the meek today. If you have felt alone, rejected, physically or spiritually poor, he is reaching out to you today to preach good tidings to you where you are right now.
Jesus bound up the broken hearted. How poignant is the scene where a woman who was a sinner came to Jesus weeping, washing his feet with her tears. Clearly, she was very broken hearted. Jesus bound up her broken heart with the balm of forgiveness. How tender the moment when Jesus saw the widow of Nain who's only son was dead and she was now destined to be destitute. He bound up her broken heart by raising her son from the dead. Jesus showed us through out his life on earth that he sees our hearts and he knows the burdens we carry and he can heal us.
Jesus proclaimed liberty to the captives and opened the prisons for those who were bound. I think of the man who suffered palsy. He was in a physical prison and Jesus set him free. Or the woman with an issue of blood. She was not only suffering physically, but she was an outcast because people believed her disease made her unclean. Jesus set her free from the prison of stigma and from disease. Jesus also provided a way to set every single one of us free from sin and death. He broke the bands of sin and death through his infinite atonement. No matter what form of captivity or what kind of prison we may experience physically or spiritually, Jesus can set us free.
In Luke, Jesus also add that he gives sight to the blind. During his ministry on earth he healed physical and spiritual blindness. Jesus is light by which to see.
I love the continuation in Isiah 61 past what Jesus read in Luke where it says, "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
Because of Christ's atonement we can receive beauty in place of ashes, we can receive the oil of joy in place of mourning, we can put on the garment of praise in place of the spirit of heaviness. Because of Christ, he made the impossible possible. We can become clean from the world. We can be born again in the Spirit. We can be healed and made whole. We can live after death. We can return to live with God in Heaven. There is no greater news, nor a greater joy than the truth that Jesus Christ is real. He is alive and still extending his promises and power to us today.