Luke 4:18–A Checklist for Being Christlike?
In Luke 4, following the temptation of Christ, he makes His purpose clear. He teaches in the synagogues in Galilee, then returns to Nazareth, where he opens to the book of Isaiah and reads from it.
17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[j]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[k]
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
What a checklist!
- Preach to the poor
- Help the brokenhearted heal
- Fight for liberty for the captives
- Help the blind see
- Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord
I have to ask myself how this could possibly apply to me.
Well, first of all, if I’m to be like Christ, then shouldn’t His mission be my mission? Shouldn’t this checklist be my checklist? True, I can’t work miracles and restore sight to the blind as Christ did, but I think we can still draw from his example and apply these things to our daily lives.
And if you notice, this checklist is basically a how-to list–how to make the world a better place and spread positivity, hope, and light across the world.
How can I preach to the poor?
Notice that it says to, and not at. And Scripture teaches this is done through our works. In James 2:18, we are told that we show our faith by our works. So the good we do for the poor will be like a beacon for them, illuminating Christ. I teach in a high poverty school, and so many of these families are disheartened and depressed. The slightest bit of hope can make all the difference for them. So, in our abundance, we must find ways to glorify Christ through our service to the poor.
How can I help the brokenhearted heal?
Sometimes, helping someone heal is a matter of just listening. It might be a gift of flowers or a small token to let that person know you care. For many of us, I think the biggest problem here is that we’re so wrapped up in our own selves and our own lives that we don’t realize when others are brokenhearted. We tell people they don’t have to be alone, but we don’t actively seek to pull others free from the imprisonment of their isolation. Biggest way to accomplish this–to pay closer attention to others.
How can I fight for liberty for the captives?
In Bible times, there were many imprisoned for their faith, and a lot of times we intepret this verse to mean that Christ came to save them from their imprisonment. But in today’s society, as I’m sure it was in Bible times, there are many walking around in captivity because of their sin. What are you slave to? Gossip? Greed? Addiction?
I’ve learned over the years that we free ourselves through service to others. Many times, those who have overcome addiction will work at treatment centers to help others, which helps them. When we devote our lives to helping others overcome the consequences of their sin and learn to walk righteously, we walk more righteously ourselves.
We have to stop… we HAVE TO STOP… saying that people deserve the consequences they get for their sins. We ALL deserve that. But, we all have been offered the grace and mercy of God, and it’s not up to us to decide who to extend that offering to. No, we must fight to free the captives.
How can I help the blind see?
I was blind, but now I see. Proverbs 4:19 says,
The way of the wicked is like darkness. They do not know over what they stumble.
I don’t think this verse means we need to go pointing out to everyone all the different ways we stumble. Now, work with me here. I know all Scripture is given by inspiration for doctrine, correction, and reproof. Absolutely true, but correction and reproof has its place. And if you are blind to Biblical Truth, no amount of giving redirection is going to steer you in the right way.
The Bible tells us in the Great Commission that we should be preaching THE GOOD NEWS. We should be preaching Jesus long before we start correcting and reproofing people. No wonder Christianity has a bad name. We’re trying to convince people to change behavior without letting them get to know the Savior who died for them. He is the Light of the world. If they are to see to find their way out of the darkness, we must be teaching about Him.
How can I proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord?
My understanding of this phrase is that it’s the year of the Lord’s favor, or the time when God will still accept the repentance and obedience of sinners. We need to be teaching for people to repent while there’s still time, and make it clear that a time will come when repentance is no longer an option. Life is a vapor, life is not guaranteed. We sing it–today is the day of salvation, tomorrow may be too late, but do we have a sense of urgency about it? Do we convey that to the lost?
My goal for today, and everyday, is to be more Christlike. Will you join me?