This material will help you to explore the big questions in life, those questions we often think have no answers. We believe God is real and that you are not an accident. You were created by a loving God, who knows you and cares about you. We believe that we can know him by getting to know Jesus. So we want to read the story about Jesus found in the Bible.
Jesus was and is a revolutionary, but unlike other revolutionaries in history who tried to change the system, Jesus’ revolution begins inside the human heart.
In the passage we read today Jesus walks into a religious meeting and is invited to read from an ancient Jewish prophecy. As he reads, his voice is so full of power and authority that everyone’s eyes are fixed on him. The prophecy describes this moment of hope, when everything would change, something everyone present hoped and believed would happen someday. Jesus puts down the scroll and says “this is happening right here and right now…”
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘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 favour.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.
- What can we find out about Jesus in this passage? Who was he and what was he like?
- It says he was brought up in Nazareth. What do you think that would have been like, talking to a crowd that knows you since you were a child?
- Jesus seems to be declaring his life mission. What is it? How would you describe it?
- What do you think the prophecy meant by the “poor, brokenhearted, captives, blind and oppressed”? Do you think it is literal or figurative?
- What did Jesus mean by saying “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing?”
Summary and application
- Do you think people today in our society ever feel poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind or oppressed? Do you ever feel this way?
- Do you think Jesus is able to fulfil this mission of setting the captives free, healing and bringing sight to the blind today?
Jesus came for the poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind and oppressed. Most people in that time felt like that - they were oppressed by the Roman Empire, and many were waiting for a political leader to come and free them and change the system – but Jesus didn’t do that.
Today people feel poor, like something is always missing; captive - by the system, a job, social pressures, drugs, addictions, bad relationships, materialism, etc.; oppressed - suffering for what harm others may have caused them or by remorse for harm they have caused to others; blind - knowing there is truth somewhere out there but never finding answers.
But often the type of freedom we’re looking for is not the freedom we really need. We want to change the world around us, the system or our circumstances, but what we really need is a change of heart. There is more to life than this, there is hope and truth, but the change has to start inside our hearts. He wants to set us free inside. He wants to heal our broken hearts and he wants to help us see the truth.