In Jesus' inaugural address, he opened a scroll of the prophet Isaiah and said this about himself:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2, 58:6).
Upon hearing Jesus go public with who he is and what he's about, Luke tells us the people were "amazed by the grace coming from his mouth."
As a small part of God's big, eternal, and global family, we want to be about what Jesus is about. Jesus makes it clear that he's about liberating people most acutely aware of their need through the good news about himself. It just so happens the those most aware of their material and social needs are usually (though not always!) most aware of their need for God.
Terms like "liberty" and "release" suggest a one-time finality of release from captivity whereas terms like "recovery" and "favor" suggest an ongoing liberation, even a state of being. When a person trusts that Jesus lived the perfect life of love we couldn't live, out of love died the death we deserve and made all the promises of love come true by rising from the dead (the good news!), they immediately enter into a forever relationship with God. Liberty! Release! And yet the same scandalous good news not only saves us but causes us to flourish - we return to the good news to help us turn back to God after messing up (Romans 2:4); the good news helps us forgive and reconcile with others (Col. 3:13); the good news fuels us with the necessary love to share that same good news with our neighbor (II Cor. 5:14). Recovery! Favor!
In other words, as a church, we will insist on returning to the good news about Jesus in everything we do. We don't 'get' the good news and then go on to achieve higher and better things by our own strength, discipline or maturity. We keep coming back to the good news about Jesus, celebrating it, singing it, lifting it high.
To hear more about our mission, watch our pastor preach about it here during this April 2022 message.