The Hope of the World
Roy Blizzard III © 2015
Text: Luke 4:14-22
14) And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15) And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17) And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21) And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22) And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
Do you like to hear good preaching and teaching that empower you and make the Bible clearly understood? Do you hate it that you are not able to go wherever in the world and study the Bible with the best teachers the world has to offer? What would being able to hear this preaching and teaching and studying the Bible be able to do for you? How wonderful it would have been to hear Jesus.
On a certain Sabbath day Jesus entered the synagogue and stood at the Bimah or pulpit. Every eye was upon Him as the people thought to themselves, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son? What is He going to do and what is He going to say?” Jesus took one look around the room and found that all those in the room were filled with sorrow and despair to one degree or another and immediately spoke of His mission upon the earth, 18) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
One thing we must mention here is that Jesus, being a Jew, is speaking Hebrew and the meanings are not all actually correct in our King James Versions. In our passage Jesus speaks of the “Poor”. However, in Hebrew this word doesn’t mean material poverty but spiritual humility which is most open to hear the gospel. This is critical to our understanding of Jesus and His mission. We first and foremost must be spiritually humble and contrite in order to receive that which Jesus has, be it Physically of Spiritually.
Here is an old, tired, sinful world, but standing in the pulpit that day is the Hope of the World. Quite a few years ago about 1,200 men gathered together to discuss the Bible, and the preacher who was among them said, “I want you to be frank with me. I want you to give me every objection to Christianity that you have in your minds.”
One man said, “Church members do not live consistent lives, they do not live up to their professions of faith.” Another man said that, “Preachers were not all that they ought to be.” Another man mentioned that, “The church was full of hypocrites.” Finally, 27 objections to Christianity were made by these men. All these facts raised by them were all true. Then the preacher said to the men, “Fellows, all that you have said is true, but I noticed one thing, you did not say one word against Jesus.”
How true this is. You may not like the preacher, you may not like the people in the church, you may not even like the programs the church has, etc, but we worship because of Jesus and not because of any of these other things and there is nothing wrong with Him! Every one of us must say with Pilate, “I find no fault in this man.” Everything about Him is wonderful and beyond reproach unless you yourself are trying to find excuses not to believe in Him and what He taught so that you yourself don’t have to accept responsibility for your spiritual state.
Jesus was wonderful at His birth and He was wonderful at His death and wonderful in His resurrection and ascension and He will be just as wonderful for us today as He will at His coming again.
Let me ask you some questions. What if Jesus had never come? Suppose that Angels had never sung over the Judean hills? Suppose there had never been a star over Bethlehem? Suppose there had been no Sermon on the Mount, no transfiguration, no Calvary? What a helpless and hopeless world this would be. How deep in darkness and sin would we all be in?
It was a great day when Adam was created. It was a great day when Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. It was a wonderful day when David penned the 23rd Psalm. It was a great day when our nation was created. It was a great day when man walked on the moon. But the greatest event ever witnessed by men and directed by God was the coming of Jesus our Messiah into our world. Let’s look at what Jesus’ coming has meant for our world in the way of Hope, Hope of “Salvation”.
1) Jesus came and gave men a new appraisal of human life:
When Jesus came into the world He found many in unhappy conditions. The majority of the people were slaves, both mentally and physically. There were few rich and many poor and as we see today the rich were oppressing the poor. To the rulers, children meant nothing. King Herod had all the children killed two years old and under in one area to prevent another challenge to his reign. Women were often seen as just property to be disposed of on a whim. And this was in the supposed God fearing nation of Israel. But, did these things disturb Jesus? Yes. In His first public message He said, “I have come to help you, I bring you a message of Hope.”
A few months passed from Jesus’ first message and John the Baptist is languishing in prison. He was questioning whether he was going to get out or not because He knew his mission was to prepare the way for YHWH. Was his mission over or not? So John sent a messenger to Jesus and asks Him in Matthew 11:3, “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus sent back this answer in verses 4 & 5, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5) The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” This answer by Jesus showed John that indeed YHWH had arrived, the he wasn’t getting out of prison and his mission had been accomplished. But it also showed us that Jesus loved mankind and desired to help them.
The poor people were devoted to Him. We read that the most common people heard Him gladly. They followed Him as their friend. He saw to their needs both physically and Spiritually and He taught them to not be anxious because God knows all about them and cared for them. The rich people loved Him too for He was no respecter of persons. Nicodemus became His friend and spoke out in the Sanhedrin on His behalf. Joseph of Arimathea lent Jesus his tomb to be buried in. Jesus was interested in everyone whether they be rich or poor, good or bad, educated or ignorant. Everyone means something to Jesus.
There are still many slaves in the world and children are still abuses and neglected and often killed. Women are still often held in disdain and treated as chattel property. Folks, people are still hurting and are in need of a Savior. If man is to be changed for the good, Jesus is the one who can do it.
Remember this, although Jesus was interested in providing for the physical needs of those around Him, He was more concerned with the Spiritual condition of those around Him. He was concerned about the ills of the flesh, but more so about the sins of the soul. The same is true today. Jesus knows that the body lasts only a few years, but the soul lives on forever. He wants to see men and women and children come to Him and He wants to see them Saved out of the clutches of the Devil.
2) Jesus came and gave a message of Hope concerning our loved ones who have died and gone on before us:
Before Jesus came there was no light beyond the grave. All was darkness and mystery. For endless centuries before men had marched towards the shadows in an unbroken column. And of all the millions who had gone down into the grave, none had come back to Save mankind. But Jesus came and explained to us that there was a back door to the grave and that it opens into heaven for all those who would trust into Him. He told us to not be afraid and that we would see our loved ones who were believers again for He was the Resurrection and the Life and that whosoever believed into Him, though he were dead, yet so he should live.
Victor Hugo once said, “The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple”. Listen to the words of the Scripture in Revelation 14:23 on this subject: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” And again in II Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” And the Paul’s famous words in Philippians 1:21, “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Therefore when we say farewell to our beloved family we can say with this song, Asleep in Jesus by Margaret Mackay from 1832;
Asleep in Jesus, blessed dead,
From which none ever wakes to weep,
A calm and undisturbed repose,
Unbroken by the last of foes.
3) Jesus gave an answer to the universal questions of mankind:
- a) What kind of God do we have? Does He love us? Does He care for us? How does He feel about us? There are billions of people today so does God care for just the one, even me? Jesus was loving and tender and He spoke to us all and told us that He that has seen Me has seen the Father and as you see me loving and lifting up and blessing you know the kind of Father you have in God. He cares for the lilies of the field and notes the sparrows fall. You are truly worth more than many sparrows so God certainly cares for you.
- b) Another question. How can one who is marred with sin get into right relationship with God?
God has provided the way through Jesus. Forgiveness through repentance and baptism.
Hear Jesus as He says, “I am the way the truth and the light.” “All ye who are weary and heavy laden…” “Him that cometh to me I will in no way cast out.”
- c) Yet another question. How may I make my life count and how do I find true happiness in life? Jesus plainly tells us that your happiness will not come from the things which we possess. He said that if we would find life, we must lose it for His sake.
Napoleon said, “I will get power. I will climb the heights and then I will be happy.” He brought Europe to her knees. He made thousands of widows and orphans, but he died broken and in exile. I would not say that his life counted for very much at all.
How do you make your life count? Let me relate a short story.
I pick up a little acorn and it says to me, “One day I will be a great tree. The birds will nest in my branches and men will rest beneath my shade. I will furnish ribs for mighty ships and provide a warm fireside and a roof overhead for loving families.” I in return said to the little acorn, “Little acorn, are you going to do all of this?” And the little acorn answered and said, “Yes God and I will do all of this.”
Friends, through His miracle of nature God will do this. If a man says to me that he wants his life to count for others and wants blessing to flow out from him to others then I must say to him, “You can do this, together with God and His miracle of spiritual rebirth. If you want your life to count today, then link to Jesus who is the Hope of the world and who is able to make you alive today.