When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.’
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
(Luke 4:16-21, New Living Translation)
Today’s Reading: Luke 4
Ever done any jail time?
I have. Cold and confined, my barred cell contained the bare essentials: a bed and bathroom. Dim light filtered through a window high on the wall. Movement was limited to six square meters.
This is certain: the three hours I spent in our local jail-turned-escape-room were enough to put me off prison for life!
Luke and Isaiah reveal Jesus’ mission to “proclaim freedom for the captives.” I’m wondering, when Jesus mentions these captives, whom do you think He’s referring to?
Perhaps your mind goes to criminals, to women and children trapped in the horrors of human trafficking, or maybe to someone addicted to drugs.
But have you considered that Jesus might be describing you, too, as a captive to something?
The word “captive” comes from the Latin capere, which means “to take, hold or seize.” If you’re captive, your ability to move or act freely is limited, as you’re held in a space that you are powerless to leave.
Seen through this lens, my own forms of captivity become apparent.
How often I stick within my comfort zone’s confines, avoiding asking courageous questions that could benefit others for fear of awkwardness!
How inclined I am to care more about what others think of me than what they think about God, keeping me quiet when opportunities arise to proclaim Christ with my words.
How many months I spent stewing in fury and unforgiveness toward the family member who betrayed my trust, inflicting deep damage. Yet how spacious the freedom was when I finally let Jesus help me relinquish my desire to retaliate!
Maybe you know what it is to be bound by bitterness, to be tied up by irreverent fears. To be shackled by shame. Addicted to ease. Enthralled by a God-substitute (i.e. idol).
Do you recognize the parts of your life under enemy occupation? Jesus is heaven-bent on your liberation. Where might He be inviting you into fuller freedom today?
God, show me where I am bound by fears, idolatry or unforgiveness. Give me grace to let You draw me out of captivity, by the power of the Spirit, through the ministry of Christ’s word and through His Body, the church.
How can you find freedom in forgiveness? Learn more about Grace’s journey of finding hope in the power of forgiveness.
Gracie Mackenzie is a Kiwi-Fijian who serves with Student Life in New Zealand as a researcher and curriculum curator. She relishes drives with her husband and playing women’s rugby. Her current passion is helping the Church embody the beauty of God’s design for our sexuality and gender.
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