What Jesus Came To Do

Bible Book: Luke  4 : 16-21
Subject: Preaching of Jesus; Jesus, Work of

Jesus wants to do some powerful, miraculous things in your life, if you'll allow him to take control. Perhaps you're asking, "Can you be more specific? What, exactly, does Jesus want to do in my life?" That's a valid question--and Jesus himself gives the answer in Luke 4:16-21: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written, 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 broken-hearted, 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."

Jesus was saying, "I am the one of whom the prophet Isaiah was speaking; I am the Anointed One; I am the Messiah; I am the Christ; I am the one who has come to do these things in men's lives"--and he wasn't speaking only to that first century congregation of Jews. He was looking down the corridors of time and speaking to people of all generations, including you and me. He was saying, "These are the things I want to do in y our life."

You may have already allowed him to do some of these things in your life. Some of these things might be underway. Some might be stalled, and you need to say, "Lord, forgive me for hindering your work in my life--I want you to please resume the process." It may be that you've not allowed him even to begin some of these things in your life. This would be a great time to just open your heart totally and say, "Lord, please just come in and take over the management of my life, and do all of those things that you want to do."

I. To Preach The Gospel To The Poor

First, he said, "...he hath anointed me To Preach The Gospel To The Poor.

He isn't talking about being down-and-out financially. He most certainly cares about folks in that condition, and you and I should, too--but he's referring here to the impoverishment of life that sin causes. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"

That means that until or unless we get right with God we're all living in spiritual poverty. The unsaved person is lost, undone, and separated from God. Whatever else an individual might have--a good  job, a nice house, an ample retirement plan, etc.--if he doesn't have God in his life, he is a pauper.

But Jesus came to change that situation for you and for me. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, "For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

In the state of Montana there is a mountain called "The Silver Bow," from which more precious metal has been mined than any other mountain. It has been called "the richest hill on earth." But in a deeper, more significant sense, the richest hill is Mount Calvary where Jesus shed his blood for you and me, that we might be rescued from our spiritual bankruptcy.

How do we receive that treasure of salvation that Jesus died to make available? First, we must recognize our spiritual need. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." In other words, "Blessed are those who acknowledge their spiritual bankruptcy." Then, having faced up to our need, we must repent, put our faith in Christ, and cry out as did the publican in Luke 18:13: "God be merciful to me a sinner."

Here's what will happen then: God will forgive your sins; he will give you newness of life, and the assurance of heaven when you die. No wonder Paul, in Ephesians 3:8, spoke of "the unsearchable riches of Christ."

II. To Heal The Brokenhearted

There's a second thing Jesus came to do; he said, "...he hath sent me To Heal The Brokenhearted...."

Sin is the world's number one heartbreaker, with the shame, regret and humiliation that it brings. But Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." When a person receives Christ as Lord and Savior, God begins healing the hurt that sin has caused.

Of course, we still experience heartache of various kinds, even after we're saved. Regretfully, sometimes we who are believers experience heartbreak as a result of getting out of God's will--but God's remedy for that type of heartache is set forth in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

But there are also many other things that break people's hearts--and in every case we can be sure that Jesus knows, sympathizes, and stands ready to help us. There is the heartbreak of loneliness. Some are brokenhearted because someone they love has deeply disappointed them. Others are heartbroken because of personal failure. There is the heartbreak of bereavement, or illness. Some are heartbroken because of strained or broken relationships. I am so thankful for the wonderful promises of God to the heartbroken. For example, Isaiah 41:10: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I willhelp thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

A little boy who lived out in the country was returning home, and the time had gotten away from him-- night had fallen. To get to his house, he had to make his way through a densely wooded area, and he was afraid. But then through the eerie stillness he heard the voice of his father, who had come to meet him. The father cried out, "Sonny boy, is that you?" The replied, "Yes, daddy, and I'm sure glad you came--it is so dark."

It may be that right now you're going through some dark valley of heartbreak and hurt. But if you know the Lord you're never alone. Our God says in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 2 Corinthians 1:3 assures us that our Lord is "the God of all comfort." Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

I encourage you to claim the promise found in Psalm 147:3: "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

III. To Preach Deliverance To The Captives

Notice in Luke 4:18 a third thing Jesus came to do, "...To Preach Deliverance To The Captives...."

In John 8:34-36 we read, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin [and the Greek word translated committeth is a word denoting linear action; the reference is to the person in whose life sin has dominion] is the servant [literally, the bondslave ] of sin. And the   servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

I have a friend who at one time was a slave of alcohol. He was ruining his health, he was breaking the hearts of his wife and children, and he had fouled himself up vocationally, too. But then one day he heard the gospel and responded in repentance and faith to Jesus, and the Lord set him free. For more than 25 years now he has been sober, and he is a productive, highly respected servant of God.

Jesus can set you free, too, whether your problem is alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, or some ungodly attitude such as lust, bitterness, or an unwillingness to forgive.

After we're saved Satan continues to hurl his fiery darts--but 2 Peter 2:9 says that "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations...."

But what about those times when we, as believers, allow Satan to catch us off guard--those times when we allow ourselves to become temporarily entangled again in the old ways? God will deliver us from those entanglements if we'll confess our sins, ask his forgiveness, and yield ourselves anew to his Lordship. The inspired author of 2 Samuel 22:2 exclaimed: "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer." The hymn writer was exactly on target when he wrote:

"Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll, To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;

Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole: Our God is able to deliver thee."

IV. Recovering Of Sight To The Blind

Jesus told us, in Luke 4:18, of still another thing he came to do. to give Recovering Of Sight To The Blind.

Jesus wasn't referring primarily to physical blindness. He has healed people of that handicap on certain occasions--but the reference here is to spiritual blindness. To be spiritually blind is a sad predicament. That's one way the Bible describes those who are unsaved. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 we read: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

That explains some of things that lost people do and say. For example, you might hear a lost person say, "I don't see anything wrong with living together though not married"--or "I don't see anything wrong with taking a drink now and then"--or "I don't see anything wrong with a little fling on the side"-- or "I don't see anything wrong with cheating on your income tax; the government is going to waste it anyway." That lost person is telling the truth when he says, "I don't see ...." Oh, of course he knows deep down inside that those things are wrong, in spite of what he says--but he really doesn't see the enormity of those sins. He really doesn't see the heinousness of them, the blackness of them. He doesn't see how much hurt he is causing to those who care about him, or how he is grieving and angering the God of heaven, or the horrendous end toward which he is headed.

But I'm so thankful that God has a cure for spiritual blindness. In John 8:12 we read: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Unfortunately, a believer can also be blind--not totally, for he knows Christ, the light of life--but he can have blind spots. In 2 Peter 1 the inspired writer is emphasizing the need for Christians to grow and thereby add certain virtues to their lives. If they do add those virtues, well and good. "But," he says in  2 Peter 1:9, "he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

Peter cites the specific case of a believer being blind to the fact that he was purged from his sins--in other words, a believer who had lost the assurance of his salvation. Others of us may have blind spots in other areas. We may be blind to some attitude on our part which turns other people off and nullifies our effectiveness. We may be blind to some habit or activity of ours which dishonors God and brings reproach on the name of our Lord or on his church. We need to ask God daily to heal us of any blind spots that exist in our live--and he will do it. He is a prayer hearing and prayer answering God--and that certainly is a prayer that he wants to hear and to answer.

V. To Set At Liberty Them That Are Bruised

Jesus also tells us in Luke 4:18 that he came,"...To Set At Liberty Them That Are Bruised." The NIV translates it like this: "to release the oppressed."

The one who inflicts the deepest, most painful bruises is Satan. In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith...." Through faith in Christ, we can be liberated from the damaging effects of Satan's bruises.

Recently a friend of mine told about a young colleague of his named Eric. When Eric was a child growing up, he was terribly bruised emotionally and psychologically. Eric's parents were not married, and they resented him; they considered him an intrusion and an inconvenience. Beginning when he was very small, they constantly berated him. They told him that he was no good, that he was "a bad seed," that he would never amount to anything. But Eric's grandmother loved him and told him the story of Jesus. Erin invited Christ into his life, and God performed the miracle of the new birth. Eric grew up to be a clean, compassionate young man. He is presently in college, preparing for the Christian ministry. Eric knows from personal experience that Jesus "sets at liberty them that are bruised."

The devil continues to try to catch us off guard and bruise us even after we're converted. In Luke 22:31 we read: "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat"--and Satan is after you, and he's after me, to inflict bruises on us any way he can. But when Satan brings the pressure to bear, we need to cry out as Hezekiah did in Isaiah 38:14: "...O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me," and God, in his power and mercy, will do exactly that.

VI. To Preach The Acceptable Year of The Lord

Finally, in Luke 4:19, Jesus said he had come,"To Preach The Acceptable Year Of The Lord."

That expression, "the acceptable year of the Lord," apparently alludes to the Old Testament Year of Jubilee. In the book of Leviticus God told the ancient Israelites that every fiftieth year was to be for them a "year of jubilee," or "year of liberty." During that year a number of positive, God-honoring things were to happen. For example, in that year Hebrew bondservants were to be given their freedom. Debts were to be cancelled. Ancestral property that had changed hands was to revert back to the original owners. Even the land was to lie fallow during that year, so that it could regain its nutrients and yield a better crop the next year. In short, the year of jubilee was a time for making a  new beginning . So, by drawing upon that analogy, Jesus was saying, "I have come to give you a new start in your life."

May of us have had the same burden as the poet who said,

"I wish that there were some wonderful place in the Land of Beginning Again:

Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches

And all of our poor selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door

And never put on again.

So I wish that there were some wonderful place

Called the Land of Beginning Again...."

I'm so thankful that he is the God of another chance. You can't relive the past, just as you can't unscramble an egg or unbreak a glass--but here's what you can do: you can confess your sins, surrender your life to Christ in repentance and faith, and God will forgive your past. He'll wipe the slate clean, and he'll give you newness of life, so that from that point forward things will be different.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

If you're a Christian already but have gotten out of God's will, you also can make a new start. You don't come as an alien, though; you come as an erring, repentant child to a loving, forgiving Father, and you claim the wonderful promise of Hosea 14:4: "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely...."

I played with my blocks, I was but a child; Houses I builded, and castles I piled;

But they tottered and fell, all my labor was vain; Then my father said kindly, "We'll try it again." I played with my time, what's time to a lad? Why pour over books? Play and be glad;

Til opportunity was gone like a sweet summer rain; Then my father said kindly, "We'll try it again." I played with my soul, the soul that is I; The best that is in me, I smothered its cry;

I dulled it, I lulled it, til oh my, the pain! Then my Heavenly Father said kindly, "We'll try it again."

Surrender yourself totally to Christ today, and let him do all of those wonderful things in your life that he came to do. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."