My mind ponders – often. Next week we start our bible studies in wineries and as I prepare to teach on Luke 4:16-21 I’ve wondered …
16 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. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 “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,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come]”
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:16-21 NLT)
Jesus is speaking of freedom from bondage. That’s what he came to do, set people free. I want that for me and for those I love. The problem is Jesus took it a step further. When he quoted Isaiah 61 he left out the part that speaks of vengeance of evildoers.
What that means is Jesus’ offer for freedom is for everyone. I’ve been pondering that a lot. Objectively I accept it but the reality of it is harder.
A woman is freed from the bondage of her sexually abuse. But do I want that freedom extended to her perpetrator?
A friend betrays. I want freedom from the bondage of bitterness but do I want that freedom for the betrayer?
A man flies a plane into the World Trade Center. I want freedom from the bondage of pain for the victims and their families but do I want that freedom for the man?
If I’m honest most of the time I want freedom from the things that which keeps me in bondage but I don’t’ want Jesus’ astonishingly generous grace handed so freely to those I don’t like let alone love.
Lord, make me a woman who extends your freedom to all people, even those I don’t like.