When Jesus began his public ministry, his reputation spread quickly as he went from synagogue to synagogue, teaching. When he came to his home in Nazareth, he showed all his cards. Reading from Isaiah, he sat back and said, “This prophecy is fulfilled in me. Today.”
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Anointed to bring good news. To those most in need of it – the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed. This, he was saying, is what God is up to, has always been up to, is doing among us even now. Today.
We who bear the name and life of Christ share in this anointing, whether or not we choose to live it out. Today we celebrate the life and ministry of one who did not shirk that anointing, but embraced it, gave himself to it even unto death, in the footsteps of his Lord Jesus. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that the Good News had not yet gotten around to everyone. There were still plenty of people mired in poverty who needed to hear it; plenty of people held captive by systems of racism and white privilege that hold resources and opportunities for the few; plenty of people blinded by greed and power and lack of insight; plenty of people oppressed by injustice and cruelty and the legacy of slavery.
And so he went with his anointing and preached Good News, not only proclaiming release but working And so he went with his anointing and preached Good News, not only proclaiming release but working tirelessly to bring it about. He worked and preached and wept and dreamed until he was silenced. His dream of racial harmony and equality is not fully realized – the last few years have made that abundantly clear. God’s dream of racial harmony and equality is not yet fully realized in our world.
Today I invite you to read that prophecy of Isaiah that Jesus claimed in the synagogue so long ago, and ask the Spirit to renew this anointing in you. Allow the Spirit to work through you to bring to visible completion the Good News Jesus proclaimed and won for us. Let's open ourselves to God’s dream of wholeness for all of creation, of blessing for every child of every race in every place.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.'
Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. Join Jesus in living it out.