This is a guest post from Michael Ghobrial - a loyal FrAnthony.com follower who has guest posted on my blog before. Michael is also a fellow blogger from “across the pond (that’s London, UK). You can follow him on his blog and on Facebook as well. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I woke up this morning with a really heavy heart, overwhelmed by a lot of things. I could feel my Spirit longing to nourish himself with the word of God and I knew I just needed to vent out so much emotion to Jesus. I felt like a balloon about to pop!
Fortunately my friend the Holy Spirit pushed me to pop in His presence and not on my own, otherwise I would have sunk in a deep cycle of negativity and self-pity. Nothing feels better or more intimate than pouring your heart out to your God, raw emotions and all. After a few seconds of silence I begged the Holy Spirit to speak loudly to me, to hush all the noise in my head, and I opened my Bible.
"He [Jesus] 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 favor.”
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.” (Luke 4:16-21)
This was Jesus' response to my wounds, and I needed those exact words.
Picture yourself in that synagogue, sitting right opposite Jesus as He unrolls the scroll and proclaims those words. As He tells you so bluntly and powerfully that He is anointed and that He's here to proclaim good news to you. Visualize your spiritual poverty now, visualize the state of your Spirit's health. He's here to proclaim good news to the poor. That's you.
Imagine being on the second bench from the back in that synagogue, overwhelmed by work, studies, money, life. Feeling imprisoned and constricted, struggling to breathe from the pressure and anxiety you feel.
And now in this very moment, of complete hopelessness, Jesus, the Prince of Heaven, looks directly at you as He holds the scroll of Isaiah and proclaims "I'm here to free the prisoners". Just His stare, or his voice alone as He speaks these words, shatters the shackles tying you down into fragments. He's here to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. That's you!
As you sit in this synagogue full of shame, surrounded by your righteous Jewish brothers and sisters who, in your eyes, keep the law to the word, you begin to feel the weight of sin. And yet again Jesus steals your attention as He reads the next line of the passage and says that He's here recover the sight of the blind. You know He's talking about you. You know you're the one blinded by the heavy cloud of sin surrounding you. And you know you need recovery of your sight. He's here to give recovery of sight for the blind. That's you again!
Your eyes start tearing up, tears of joy, tears of peace and comfort, tears of acceptance, of freedom. As you look into His eyes, you can't help but smile. You can't wait to hear what other promises He's about to bestow upon you today. He sees you and with the biggest smile He reads "to set the oppressed free" then looks directly at you. All the oppression of Satan, all his attacks and lies, that's tied you down is lifted. He's here to set the oppressed free. That's you one more time!
You close your eyes in awe of the words Jesus is speaking to you and your Spirit begins offering a song of praise to God. You don't deserve all this love. It doesn't make any sense that you, a sinner in the synagogue with a stained heart, should receive these promises from Jesus. And in that moment, in that moment of thankfulness Jesus says that He is here to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
It wasn't enough for Him to proclaim good news to you, to free you, to recover your sight and to end your oppression. He's now promising you a year of the Lord's favor?! A year of joy and freedom in God?! What?!
You eyes are wide open. Your whole being is focused on Him. Nothing and no-one but Him, as if all has gone out of focus. Jesus, compassionately smiling, looks directly at you and says to you "today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing".
You are no longer poor.
You are no longer a prisoner.
You are longer blind.
You are no longer oppressed.
You, are favored by Jesus.
As I received Jesus' promises this morning I was moved to tears. Life is tough, it's not easy. We won't always get what we want when we want, and sometimes it's just going to be rough. That's fact.
But it's also fact that Jesus has always and will always be here. It is fact that He has the power to free me from any hardship I go through. And it certainly is fact that I am loved and favored by Him and He delights over me with singing.
Thank You Lord Jesus.