Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Didn't Find What I was Looking For...

“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.”  Luke 4:18-19 NIV

A couple of weeks ago this passage in Luke piqued my interest in a sermon at church.  It really struck me because, well, my daughter is blind. 
Now, I’ve read plenty of the stories about the blind being healed in scripture, and that has never bothered me.  I’ve never thought, “Why would God heal one blind person here and another here, but not my daughter?”  I already knew that the answer would be, “He has a different purpose for her, and that does not include being healed at this time.”  
But, this particular verse stood out to me as peculiar because it seemed like a type of mission statement for Jesus, yet it seemed quite limited to me in the use of the word BLIND.
Why not say he would heal lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons?
I decided this required a “word study.”  I LOVE my Blue Letter Bible app on my iPhone for this particular reason; I can do a word study right there on my phone with any part of scripture.  

So, I looked up this verse on my app and found some of the Greek words from the original text.  
Freedom:  Greek word aphesis :  release from imprisonment, forgiveness or pardon of sins, remission of the penalty (letting them go as if they, the sins or crimes, had never been committed).
Reading through that definition certainly gave me a more detailed understanding of the portion of this scripture which says, “proclaim freedom to the prisoners.”  

This did not mean freedom for people in prison!!!  This meant US; all of us!   This meant freedom for SINNERS…we would be set free; pardoned completely as though we had never sinned-and JESUS would be the way for this to happen.
Blind: Greek word typhlos :  can mean physically or mentally blind; obscure (smokey)
There are a plethora of times in JUST the book of Matthe where typhlos is used to mean physically blind.  
Matt 9:27, Matt 11:5, Matt 12:22, Matt 15:31, and so on.  
However, there are also times when typhlos is used to mean “mentally blind” as though the person couldn’t quite see the truth.  For example:  
Matthew 15:14 Leave them; they are blind guides.  If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
Matthew 23…He rebukes people several times using the term blind, but clearly not in speaking to those who are physically blind, rather those who he has found to be mentally blind…unable to SEE the truth in front of them.  Matt 23:17, “Woe to you, blind guides”; Matt 23:17, “You blind fools”; Matt 23:19, “You blind men”; Matt 23:26, “Blind Pharisee!” And the list continues…
Again, the original Greek for this word: blind, clearly gives us a more in depth understanding of WHAT Jesus came to do.  Sure, he was going to perform some physical healings of people who were blind, BUT, more importantly, he was going to be the CLARITY of God in the flesh…
Jesus wasn’t just here so the BLIND could SEE…
Jesus came so we ALL could see…so our EYES would be opened to the glory of God our Father who came and dwelt among us.
Even then, even when Jesus was RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, many chose NOT to see him for who he truly was.  They were still looking through their obscure and smoky minds.  
And so are many of us today…
Let’s look at that last phrase in Luke 4:18… to set the oppressed free…
Oppressed:  Greek word thrauĊ :  to break into pieces, shatter, smite through 
Whoa…I was kind of reading that as “people who are struggling…”.  

Right?  Isn’t that oppressed?  

Shattered?  Broken into pieces?  
That really does describe our world doesn’t it?  
That describes us when we find out our children are “broken” by the world’s definition.  
That describes the feeling when our child is turned down for life insurance.  
That describes the feeling when we receive one more diagnosis which will alter the trajectory of our lives here on earth. 

So, Jesus came to give us a COMPLETE PARDON from our sins, to clear our obscure minds so we could SEE God, and to put our SHATTERED souls back together again after being beaten down time after time in this world.  
I set out writing this because I wanted know why part of Jesus’s “mission” was recovery of sight for the blind
What I found was so much more…

Pray:  What more needs to be said after reading this powerful piece of scripture?  Praise the Lord.   God, you are so good.  All glory, honor and praise to you.  Your love is beyond anything we can comprehend.  Amen.

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