Play it again, Roni!
Let’s try this a little bit softer this time, shall we? (If you ever wonder if I think I know it all, the answer would be “no.” But, He knows it all and teaches me new stuff daily.)
Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”
Right there…do you see it? Do you understand it? That’s who we are if we claim to be of Christ. I asked someone one day, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” She responded, “To believe in Christ.” I reminded her that the Bible teaches even Satan believes in Jesus! To refer to myself as a Christian goes much deeper than mere belief. I must try to think like Christ because Christianity designates a follower of Christ.
Jesus proclaimed His core values in this verse. Some want to argue whether He is referring to those who are economically poor or spiritually poor? I say both. Some want to debate who exactly are the captives? Is He talking about being spiritually blind or physically blind? I believe He is talking about those who are physically held captive and physically blind; as well as those who are held captive by their own thoughts or the actions of others. I believe He is concerned about those who have lost their physical sight and those who do not see Him because no one has shown them Truth. The oppressed live and function in a society that sees them as “less than.” Christ sees them as worthy. Christ sees all of us as worthy. Who is oppressed? I guess that depends on who you ask.
Some Christians believe we are oppressed. They believe Christianity is under attack. I don’t see too many of those complaining Christians acting very much like Christ as described in the verse shared above. I’m not sure you can claim you are being discriminated against unless you are actually trying to do something and someone refuses to allow you to do it.
I remember a few years back when the church I attended no longer held Sunday night church because, to be honest, not enough people showed up to justify the lights, the A/C and the nursery workers’ salaries. Oh, my gosh! You would have thought the world was coming to an end! Everyone was up in arms about a church that would stop conducting Sunday night services. The pastor very calmly asked, “Do you plan on attending?” That shut everyone up very quickly because no, they had no intention of attending. They just didn’t want things to change. They were committed to the tradition of a Sunday night service. They just weren’t committed to attending it.
People, what are we doing? Please re-read the verse above and ask yourself, “What am I doing to follow Christ’s lead in these verses?”
Let’s not be the traditional Christian that wants to complain but has no interest in participating in the work of Christ.
A friend of mine bought me a personalized devotional journal. Here is the verse that began my journaling thoughts tonight:
“Roni, the sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” Isaiah 25:8 (Emphasis mine.)
Lord Jesus, I am banking on it. Lord, how do we think we will reach the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed if we not only refuse to be around them, but we refuse to allow them to be around us? Help us, Jesus, reflect You to a very, very, very lost world that is hurting. Amen.