Mission to People

KEY VERSE: “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. To preach the acceptable year of the LORD.” —Luke 4:18,19


WHEN JESUS WAS immersed by John the Baptist, John saw the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove as a sign that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the anointed one. (Luke 3:22) Jesus returned to his home in Galilee with “the power of the Spirit,” to begin his ministry. (Luke 4:14) As he taught in the synagogues, his fame spread among the people. Soon after his baptism, Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth where he stood up and read our Key Verse for today. This passage was most appropriate for Jesus to choose because it prophesied concerning him and his mission to bring ‘good news’ to the ‘poor’.

Jesus was sent by God to proclaim a message of release from death for the captives enslaved through father Adam’s fall into sin. He offered sight to those blinded by the god of this world, Satan—those who were unable to see the light of God’s truth. Ultimately the oppressed would be fully freed from their bondage to Satan—this oppression coming to an end with Satan’s binding for a thousand years, and afterward his complete destruction. (Rev. 20:1-10) As the hard taskmaster of the world’s population, Satan had brought misery and woe to the masses of mankind, but the First Advent of Jesus gave assurance that Satan’s evil domination would end.

Jesus also proclaimed the ‘year’ of the Lord’s favor! What a great blessing Jesus’ First Advent was to those who accepted him as the anointed one of God! For centuries God had sent his prophets and teachers to bring his people, Israel, close to him. But, in general, God’s representatives were rejected. Only a small remnant profited from their messages. Now he sent them his Son to be the Messiah, and to preach repentance, conversion, and acceptance of God’s ways. Even his Son was rejected by Israeli Therefore their time to enjoy exclusive favor from Jehovah drew to a close. No longer would they be called his chosen people.—Amos 3:2; see Daniel 9:24-27.

Because as a nation they had renounced Jesus, God took away their covenant relationship. Jesus wept over the holy city, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”—Matt. 23:37,38

Jesus alluded to several historic events which illustrated the point that because the Jews would reject Jesus, the Gentiles would be invited to be part of God’s elect. During a time of great drought and famine, Jesus said, there were many widows in Israel. But Elijah, instead of being sent for sustenance to one of them, a Gentile was given that privilege. (Luke 4:24-27; I Kings 17:9) Another incident involved Elisha. There were many lepers in Israel during his day, Jesus reminded them, but Elisha did not heal any but a Gentile.—II Kings, chapter 5

His lesson was clear: favor was to be taken away from Israel as a nation, and extended to Gentiles. God planned to “visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14) Not all Israel rejected him. John wrote, He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”—John 1:11,12

Special favor to the elect class—comprised of both the ‘remnant’ of Jews, and of those ‘called out’ Gentiles (Acts 2:39)—would continue until the close of the Gospel Age. Afterward, favor would return to Israel and to all mankind through the establishment of the kingdom of Christ.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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