“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
In a previous post I discussed the fact that Jesus had stated that he MUST be about His Father’s business. In that article I mentioned that destroying the works of the devil was a big part of this “business”. Here Jesus publicly announces at the start of his ministry what He is all about, and for what purpose the Spirit of the Lord, or the Holy Spirit, was upon Him.
What was the Mission of Jesus Christ?
Firstly, to preach the gospel or good news to the poor. What is the good news? I deal with this subject in many places on this site. There are different slants on the message. I do not believe that Jesus generally revealed the full scope of the gospel message to his hearers when He preached on earth, because he generally did not talk to the crowds about his upcoming death and resurrection and the meaning thereof. This was left for the apostles to preach. But this very fact that Jesus announced he came to preach the gospel to the poor suggests that there is gospel content that ought to be preached explicitly even apart from the basic message of forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus preached “the gospel of the Kingdom” and this involved ESPECIALLY the news that He had come to break satanic strongholds in people’s lives today. This message is still highly relevant today because literal demons are hiding in most people, including Christians, and a lot of the church does not realize it. These demons bring with them enslavement to sinful thought and behavior patterns, terrible sickness, fear and other torments. Many Christians, without realizing it, are still bound in large measure to DOUBT and UNBELIEF, and this is why many gospel promises don’t seem to work in their lives. When it gets down to it, they just don’t believe the promise is for them now.
Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor for a number of reasons. Firstly, the poor miss out on a lot of things in this life, because without money, you generally can’t muster the world’s help when you are in distress. Today in Australia, if you are demonized, many pastors, even in pentecostal churches, will send you to a psychiatrist, because the pastors do not know this gospel of the kingdom that liberates, or they don’t know how to get results with it. Its too bad though if you are poor though, because psychiatrists charge $100 or $200 an hour, maybe more, and there are long waiting lists to see them. If you don’t have money you can’t always access them. You might then be more open to a gospel message from Jesus of healing for the brokenhearted, opening of the eyes and freedom to the captives. Most of these expensive psychiatrists don’t even believe in a literal devil, they think just about everything is a “chemical imbalance” even though they never measured the chemical levels, and they prescribe drugs to manage the underlying condition. A skilled psychiatrist might be able to help people manage their distressing internal torments, it is far better than nothing in most cases, but if psychiatrists and drugs were absolutely necessary for people to experience PEACE, then I am sure that Jesus Christ would have been good enough in his gospels to teach psychiatry and drug chemistry so that we would not all have to wait 2000 years before medical science came up with “real answers”. Enough said. You either believe in Jesus’ full gospel as stated above or you don’t.
Why the Poor?
As I was saying, the poor are more receptive. God cares about the poor. They are not always poor because they are lazy or wicked. Sometimes they are the victims of human exploitation and unjust economic systems. They are always in need of practical help. And the Good News is all about the love of God, and it is shown in practical ways as well as in words that carry spiritual power to transform.
Jesus said it is hard for rich people to enter the kingdom of heaven. The great temptation with having riches is to be self-reliant and arrogant. Such people don’t easily see their need for a Savior. It does happen, and I suppose compared to God we are ALL poor, if only we knew it. But the most strategic people to reach, in God’s view, are those that can see their own need and poverty, rather than those who think they would be doing God a favor if they opened their hearts or their wallets to Him. This goes contrary to worldly thinking but God’s ways are much wiser in the long term – and even the short term.
A part of the good news to the poor is that they don’t have to be poor forever. Actually, when you are adopted into the Father’s family, you become rich. Accessing those riches, both spiritual and economic, does require faith and obedience, and usually some time. But there can be no doubting that all other things being equal, the gospel lifts people out of poverty. There are exceptions to this general rule. There are times when following Jesus openly will quickly results in being thrown in prison or economically persecuted by Society. For the rich it might mean at times a humbling of one’s self, or the giving away of lots of assets. But the gospel is not a message to the rich that they can get even richer. That is a perversion of the gospel. Even so, the general effect of the gospel is to raise people out of poverty. The greatest poverty of all is to be morally bankrupt and guilty before God with a debt of sin you can never pay. This bankruptcy is common to the entire human race, and thank God, Jesus paid the debt for us, and we can go free, if we are willing to accept it.
If you have never called upon Jesus Christ for forgiveness, for a new life; if you have never acknowledged Him as YOUR King, I invite you to do this now. Just express this desire in your own words. If you mean business with God, He will respond and you will soon know it.