|Setting the Captives Free|
Setting the Captives Free
by Bill Scheidler
When Jesus inaugurated His ministry, He read His mission statement from Isaiah 61:1-2 (See Luke 4:18-19). You can't read this passage without being impressed by the fact that Jesus came to bring freedom to the captives. Jesus came to bring good news. The Good News is that no matter what may trouble, bind or restrict you, Jesus can set you free.
Jesus came for the brokenhearted (Is. 61:1). Jesus used a word here that literally means "broken into pieces". It can be translated "shattered, trampled upon, crushed and bruised."
Many people's lives are fragmented, shattered and broken by the effects of sin and Satanic harassment. Jesus came to "bind up" (literally "wrap up") the broken hearted. He came to bandage those hurting areas of our lives and wrap His arms of love around us bringing us to a place where we will not be the abused or oppressed, but we will, in fact, become the abuser and the oppressor. Jesus wants to get us to the place of freedom where instead of being the object of Satan's bruising we will administer abuse to Satan as he is bruised (same Greek word) under the feet of the Church (Rom. 16:20).
Jesus came for the captives (Is. 61:1). A captive is someone who is brought under the control and domination of another. The word here literally means "to subjugate, bring under control or to take captive one's mind." Before coming to Christ, sin had dominion over us (Rom. 6:6,9,14). Sin, Satan and the lusts or passions of the flesh literally controlled us and all of our though patterns. We were in fact the slaves of sin.
Jesus came to give us power over Satan and sin and to give us the ability to bring our thought life under the subjection of Christ (II Cor. 10:5). In Christ's death, burial and resurrection He made it possible for us to be free when He led captivity captive (Eph. 4:8).
In Luke 4:18 it indicates that Jesus came to preach "deliverance" (literally, remission of sins) to the captives. There is nothing that captivates us and ties us to the past more than lacking a sense of forgiveness. In Christ we have been freed from the restraints of past sins, God Himself has declared us holy and whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
Jesus came for those in bondage and spiritual prison houses (Is. 61:1). He came to set at liberty the "oppressed". This word "oppressed" is used only once in the New Testament and literally means those who are "broken by calamity". The negative circumstances of life have a tendency to beat us down and rob us of life. Jesus came that we might have life and that we might have it abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus was lifted up on the cross so that we could be lifted up and out of poverty, depression and despair.
Jesus set us at liberty. The word liberty here also is tied to the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness from God and forgiveness toward others seems to be the message that the oppressed need to hear. Why? Because we cannot be totally free from the negative circumstances of the past until we forgive those who were responsible for those negative circumstances. Those who refuse to forgive others as they have been forgiven live in a spiritual prison house (Matt. 18:21-35).
Jesus came for the grieving and downcast (Is. 61:2). While the Luke passage does not include this phrase, Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will comfort or console all who mourn and He will give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. What a tremendous deal!
Jesus takes the broken areas of our lives, He takes the regrets of the past, He takes all of the mistakes, the messes, the sorrows and replaces them with that which is beautiful. He was a Man of Sorrows so that we could be full of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Jesus came to announce our year of Jubilee (Lk. 4:19). For the Israelite, the acceptable year of the Lord or the year of the Lord's favor was a much anticipated and glorious time. The year of Jubilee only came around every 50 years, but it meant freedom and restoration to the people of God. It was a time when all debts against them were canceled, their slavery was lifted and they could return to their original inheritance that had been lost by them and/or their predecessors.
Jesus proclaims that Jubilee is here. It is now! It can be entered into by anyone who receives His message. You can be free from your debts. Your slavery can come to an end. You can be restored to the inheritance promised to your spiritual fathers. All that is "in Christ" is yours. This is very Good News!
Jesus is our physician, comforter, deliverer, savior, redeemer, rescuer, emancipator, liberator, defender, protector, guardian, champion, prince of peace, preserver, restorer, and sanctifier. He has the answer to every one of man's needs. He came to set us free and He wants us to live a perpetual life of freedom (Gal 5:1).
How do we insure that we are walking in that freedom? How can we appropriate all that Christ has done for us? How can the believer get free and stay free from the things that seek to ensnare us?
Christ has provided all that we need to succeed. Once we have encountered Christ, the Bible puts some responsibility on us to wrestle, to fight and to overcome with the tools that we have been given. Steps to freedom include the following:
"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Setting the Captives Free 8.5X11.pdf
Setting the Captives Free A4.pdf