"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me ... "
In His description of His ministry, Jesus says that He has come to preach the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. He has come to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:19). He has come to say, “Now is the day of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). He brings this message of Good News in the power of “the Spirit of the Lord” (Luke 4:18).
In this introduction to Jesus’ ministry, we learn about (1) Jesus’ message; (2) Jesus’ hearers; (3) Jesus’ power.
(1) Jesus’ Message
What is the message that Jesus has brought to the world? Jesus brings “Good News” to the world. It is the Good News of God’s love. This is the Good News that was announced by the angel at the time of Christ’s birth – “I bring you Good News of great joy” (Luke 2:10). This is the Good News of which we read in John 3:16 – “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” This is the Good News proclaimed by Paul in his Letter to the Romans: “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
(2) Jesus’ Hearers
To whom does Jesus bring this message of Good News? The Good News is for everyone. When the angel brought the Good News of Christ’s birth, He said, This is Good News “for all the people”(Luke 2:10).’ When Jesus spoke of God’s love, He spoke of God’s love for the world. When Jesus spoke of His ministry to “the poor”, “the prisoners”, “the blind” and “the oppressed” (Luke 4:18-19), He is not limiting His ministry to certain types of people. He is describing the spiritual condition of every one of us. He calls upon each of us to recognize our need of Him as Saviour.
We are spiritually poor. We are like beggars who can only come to God, pleading for His mercy – “Nothing in my hand, I bring. Simply to Thy Cross, I cling.” Our spiritual poverty is described in terms of Satan’s power over us. We are His prisoners. We are spiritually blind. we are oppressed by Satan. Christ has come to set us free – “If the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). He has come to open our eyes. He has come to show us Himself as Saviour. He has come to give us this testimony: “Once I was blind, but now I see” (John 9:25). He has come to give us a song to sing: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Satan will oppress us – just like he oppressed our Saviour. Oppressed by Satan, we must look to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we look to our Saviour and see Him victorious over Satan, we must learn to see ourselves in Christ. In Him, we are strong. We stand in His strength. We are “more than conquerors in Him” (Romans 8:37).
(3) Jesus’ Power
Jesus’ ministry is described in Luke 4:22 as a ministry of God’s grace – “the gracious words that came from His lips.” The power of Jesus’ ministry comes from the message given to Him by God the Father and the submission of His life to the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of the Word of grace. It was a demonstration of the power of the Spirit of grace. If we are to be like Jesus, speaking gracious words, words which come from God, our loving, heavenly Father, words which are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, we must give careful attention to the Good News of Jesus Christ and we must pray for the powerful presence of the Spirit of God: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me.” This is what we must pray for – the shaping of our lives by Jesus Christ through the Gospel he brings to us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord – in me abide.
O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival- start the work in me:
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessing now, O Lord, I humbly plead.