Praise the One!

4th Sunday after the Epiphany

Praise the One!

1. The One who was proclaimed
2. The One who does proclaim

Text: Luke 4:14-21

I.

There are people in this world right now who are poor.  They are impoverished, penniless paupers.  They wander aimlessly, looking for some kind of wealth or riches.  They don’t know what it’s like to be wealthy or rich.  They have nothing.  They are poor.

There are people in this world right now who are prisoners.  They have committed felonies and misdemeanors.  They have broken laws in big ways and in small ways.  They have nowhere to go because they are convicted criminals locked up in the slammer, the clink, the big house, the hoosegow, jail.  They are prisoners.

There are people in this world right now who are blind.  Their vision isn’t only impaired, their sight is completely gone.  They can’t see a thing.  They don’t know where they are going.  They are helpless and lost.  They are blind.

There are people in this world right now who are oppressed.  They are overloaded, overwhelmed, and overburdened.  They feel like fingers are around the throat.  They feel like a weight is crushing them.  They are oppressed.

All these people are distressed and destitute.  They are sad and lonely.  They are helpless and hopeless.  And doesn’t it feel overwhelming . . . to be one of those people?

We are spiritually poor.  We have forfeited our riches long ago.  Our pockets are empty, filled only with the lint of our wrongs.  Our wallets are empty, filled only with the dust of our sins.  Our bank accounts are empty, filled only with negative red numbers accrued from all our evil.

We are also spiritually prisoners.  We are shackled to our sinful nature, held captive by an inner desire to do wrong every moment of every day.  We are chained to a lifetime of misdeeds.  The punishment does fit the crimes as we are bound for eternal imprisonment of hell.

We are also spiritually blind.  Our eyes are covered with a hazy fog of wickedness that clouds every decision we make.  Like walking in a thick forest in the middle of the night we are lost, can’t see, and don’t know where to go.

We are also spiritually oppressed.  The amount of things we have done wrong in our lives is nearly overwhelming.  To consider every bad thought, every bad word, every bad deed is crushing.  The guilt from so many sins against our God is like a massive boulder placed on our shoulders that quickly crushes and kills.

Is there any hope for poor prisoners who are blind and oppressed?  Is there any hope for those who have absolutely nothing to offer God because they have only disobeyed and despised him their entire lives?  Is there any hope for those buried under a mountain of sins and drowning in a sea of guilt?

There is.  Listen to these words:  The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The Lord has chosen that he would send a special one, someone empowered and anointed by the Holy Spirit.  This special one has good news to proclaim:  There are riches for the spiritually poor.  There is freedom for the spiritual prisoners.  There is sight for the spiritually blind.  There is freedom for the spiritually oppressed.  The year of the Lord’s favor is coming. And today . . . This scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

II.

About two thousand years ago, as Jesus was beginning his public ministry he made a visit to his hometown of Nazareth.  Rumors had started to spread about some of the incredible things that were happening.  People were talking about this man who was strangely baptized, supposedly changed water into wine, had a handful of disciples following him, and had been teaching all over the countryside.

Back home in Nazareth on the Sabbath day, Jesus was invited to speak and give what was essentially the synagogue sermon that day.  He was handed a scroll.  Carefully he unrolled it and read aloud in Hebrew the words of Isaiah 61:1-2 that you just heard.  What special words to the Hebrew people!  Some day the Lord would send a powerful one to them to give them riches and freedom and release from oppression!

Carefully Jesus rolled up the scroll.  He handed it back to the synagogue attendant and sat down.  The whole congregation stared at him with eyes and ears wide open.  What would the carpenter’s son say?  Would he address the rumors?  Did he know who this anointed one would be?  Did he know when all these blessings from God would happen?

Jesus began to speak to them with this marvelous proclamation:  Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  What happiness!  What excitement!  What joy!  He is the One!  Jesus is the One who was proclaimed and Jesus is the One who did proclaim that he is the promised Messiah sent from God!

You would think that this would have been an occasion of incredible joy and excitement.  At long last the Messiah had come!  But next week we’ll see how even in his hometown Jesus was rejected as these familiar faces tried to throw Jesus off a cliff!

III.

But today, two thousand years later, Jesus proclaims the same message among us:  Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Many things have changed since the days Jesus walked this earth.  But this has not changed:  Jesus is still the One.  He is the One who was proclaimed in Scripture and he is the One who does proclaim to us that he is the promised Messiah that God has sent.

What happiness!  What excitement!  What joy!  Where the Jews had rejected Jesus, we have accepted Jesus.  We believe and know he is the One that God had promised.

So we listen to these words of Jesus with eager and glad hearts.  The very words he read in the synagogue that one day in Nazareth are the very words he has fulfilled for us today:  The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus is the one who brings riches to the spiritually poor.  He gives us the wealth and splendor of the kingdom of heaven.  He gives us an inheritance that does not spoil, perish, or fade.  He gives us a decadent penthouse in his Father’s house forever.

Jesus is also the one who proclaims freedom for the spiritual prisoners.  He has broken our bonds of sin and guilt.  He has shattered our shackles of death and hell.  As he burst forth from the tomb of his three-day-prison he simultaneously gave us freedom, too.

Jesus is also the one who gives sight to the spiritually blind.  He gives us new eyes to see clearly the path to heaven.  He gives us new sight to see clearly that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He gives us new vision to see that he is our one true Savior.

Jesus is also the one who releases the spiritually oppressed.  He removes the mountain of sin crushing us.  He dries up the sea of guilt drowning us.  Our burden of sin and guilt is gone.  The oppression of pending death and hell and gone.

Listen to Jesus proclaim to you today, this now is the year of the Lord’s favor.  You now, today, know that Jesus is the One who was proclaimed to come and Jesus is the One who does proclaim that he did come.  That means that this year, and every year, is the year of the Lord’s favor because this year, and every year, is a year you live in God’s grace.

IV.

So knowing that Jesus is the One, praise him for all that he has done.  Praise him with your thoughts.  Ponder the wonders of what he has done.  Take time each day to meditate upon God’s grace.  Devote your life to growing in your faith and learning more about what God has done by studying his holy Word.  Pray continually to the one who will answer your prayers because he loved you enough to die for you.

Then Praise the One in your words.  Sings songs and hymns with joy and gladness in your heart.  Worship him with awe-filled wonder.  Tell others what God has done.  Invite your neighbors to church.  Ask your coworkers if they have real peace.  Share the good news of Jesus.

Then Praise the One in your deeds.  Give your first and your best to the God who gave you his own Son.  Serve the Lord with a humble life of love and gratitude.  Make God the center of your life in all you do.

There are people in this world right now who are poor.  There are people in this world right now who are prisoners.  There are people in this world right now who are blind.  There are people in this world right now who are oppressed.

Thank God that you used to be one of those people, but now you are not because Jesus came.  So,

1.  Praise the one who breaks the darkness with a liberating light;

Praise the one who frees the prisoners, turning blindness into sight.

Praise the one who preached the gospel, healing every dread disease,

Calming storms and feeding thousands with the Father’s word of peace.

2.  Praise the one who blessed the children with a strong, yet gentle, word;

Praise the one who drove out demons with the piercing, two-edged sword.

Praise the one who brings cool water to the desert’s burning sand;

From this well comes living water, quenching thirst in every land.

3.  Let us praise the Word incarnate, Christ who suffered in our place;

Jesus died and rose victorious that we may know God by grace.

Let us sing for joy and gladness, seeing what our God has done;

Let us praise the true Redeemer praise the one who makes us one.

Jesus is that One.  Praise him.

AMEN

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on January 28, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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    noticed your blog, “Praise the One! CTKpalmcoast”, will you mind if I actually apply a
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