What is one sure way you can know what the heart of someone is? According to Jesus, you listen to what comes out of their mouth. He said, “out of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 15: 18). If you want to know what is on the heart of God…you simply have to listen to the first sermon Jesus preached. The Gospel of Luke records for us that amazing Sabbath when the creator of the world walked into the Synagogue in Nazareth.
Just imagine the moment. The Rabbi invites any teacher in the gathering to come and speak before the assembly. Jesus arises. He walks over to the scrolls and selects the ancient prophet, Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll He reads,
“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, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4: 18-29, (NIV)
Then He rolls up the scroll, sat down with all eyes on Him. With every eye on Him, ears attentive to what words would come from His mouth, Jesus says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (vs. 21).
With that one statement, Jesus was declaring Himself to be the one the prophet wrote of hundreds of years before. With that one sentence, mankind would forever know what was on the heart of God. Everyone would know why God would disrobe Himself of His glory in the presence of the angels and put on humanity. God came to reveal to us, to us…the sinful, broken, and self-seeking, that He has come to open our hearts to what burdens His.
Notice the five declarations Jesus made that describes the heart of God.
* I Am Anointed (sent) to proclaim good news (gospel) to the poor (poor in spirit, poor in the physical)…
* I Am Anointed to proclaim freedom to those who are bound, hurting, in need.
* I Am Anointed to proclaim recovery of sight for the blind (can be physical, but also, internal and spiritual blindness)
* I Am Anointed to proclaim freedom to those oppressed.
* I Am Anointed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (God wants people to know Him and to experience His presence).
How do we know this? Jesus said it Himself in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” We know it by the Scriptures – Listen to Psalm 89…
Psalm 89: 14-15, Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
Did you get it? Whose righteousness? Whose justice? Who gets to define them? Not you. Not me…God! God is the author and when we learn to acclaim Him and His righteousness and justice…then we walk in His light and experience His Favor, His Anointing.
God expressed the importance of sharing His good news of Salvation…His good news of Freedom…His good news of Awareness of His Righteousness and Justice that brings His favor on His people and you and I are called to join Him in this mission.
In a stern conversation that God had with His prophet Amos in ancient Israel, God shows Amos a basket of ripe fruit and asks him, “What do you see?” The land of Israel was in a season of prosperity. Things were going well. The problem was that as the blessings flowed upon the nation, selfishness and apathy became the attitude of the people. Sound familiar?
Amos 8: 4-7, – “Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
We all know that consequences follow choices, either blessings or cursing. Through the prophet, God reminded the people that they were His and that every blessing comes from Him. He reminded them that the way they treat one another is a direct representation of how the world thinks God would act toward them. Think of the message here and how it relates to us. To the watching world, they believe the mission we declare important by the way we live our lives must be the mission that is important to God. The question then becomes, “what mission are we living for in front of our family and neighbors?” Ours? or His?
God has made known to us His heart and invites us to pursue His mission. To go and proclaim the Gospel. To proclaim that we don’t live for our mission, our preferences, or our desires, we live to declare His! Only then will we experience His favor, His anointing, His presence.
Just look at that first group of disciples and remember that Jesus picked them Himself. What an unusual bunch. A hot-headed fisherman and his quiet brother, a nationalist, a tax collector, self-centered, egotistical brothers, and I could go on, yet they all came together to follow one master who united them with one mission and they changed the course of the world. Jesus still uses ordinary people like you and me to come together under His mission and change the course of people’s lives by sharing with them the Good News that brings Salvation, Freedom, Awareness, and Favor!
I can’t wait to see what God will do through us as we align our hearts to His and join Jesus on HIS MISSION.