The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
I thought that today I would spend sometime speaking on a verse from Scripture. I have always been drawn to this verse from Isaiah. Not just has this verse drawn me, but the entire passage has a great power and authority behind it. Such is the power, truth, and authority in this passage that Jesus himself proclaims it in Luke 4 verses 17 through 19. When Jesus had finished reading from the scroll, the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon him.
Afterwards, Jesus declared to all those present, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (21). It is interesting how Jesus makes this statement in front of a multitude of people from the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus mentions the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, and those who are bound, but who is he referring to? These are the religious. These were the leaders of the town–it was the Sabbath after all, and Jesus was at church! And yet, He states that this Scripture, this prophecy, was fulfilled on this day.
It’s easy to take a passage like this and say “Jesus was a populist/socialist/liberal,” etc. But even though my desire isn’t to criticize these world views, labeling Jesus like this, without paying attention to the context of the passage, falls short and divisive of the message Jesus proclaimed on that day. Jesus declared that the marginalized (the poor, captives, brokenhearted, and bound) were not in the ugly and nasty places of the world, but among the people we believe have it together–the people that are supposed to have it together.
So what do we get from this? Jesus is commanding us to seek the marginalized in our life. It may very well be that the marginalized are indeed the economically stricken, the politically persecuted, and the emotionally broken. That may be the case. But it isn’t the same for all of us. Every life has those that are marginalized, poor, brokenhearted, etc. Who are the marginalized in your life?
I believe that as a church we have been to reclaim the lives of the marginalized. We have been to bring redemption to the broken and those pushed aside. The mystery is: who are they? The church has been called to reclaim the alternative–we have been called to reclaim for the Kingdom those the captives and show them the alternative.