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Jesus’ Ministry Summed Up in One Word

October 17, 2011

Luke has Jesus’ public ministry begin by his opening up and reading from Isaiah 61. This, Luke says, is what Jesus’ ministry was all about, in a nutshell: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (4:18-19).

If I had to use one word to sum this up, it would be the word “healing.” Throughout Luke and Acts, we see the Good News bringing healing wherever there is brokenness: spiritual healing, as people turn from inner darkness to the light; physical healing (of all kinds of people, in all kinds of ways); healing of relationships (for example, the sharing in Acts 2 and 4); healing from the bondage of societal prejudices (for example, the prominence of women in Luke’s writings); healing of the alienation of the marginalized (for example, the words spoken to Philip by the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8: “What is to prevent me from being Baptized?” [verse 37], and the wonderful answer: NOTHING!); and healing from the structures of society that perpetuate injustice (for example, the words of Mary in the Magnificat: “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” [Luke 1:52-53] – the Church continued this in Acts in the afore mentioned sharing with one another in Acts 2 and 4, demonstrating the turning on its head of priorities expressed in Mary’s song, so that in Acts 17, Christians are, “dragged before the city authorities by a mob shouting, ‘These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also’”).

(from October 16 sermon)

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