“He came to free the captives…”
Of all the Christian cliches, this one is up there. It is up there for good reason; He is the One we profess to be students of. Yet, we misrepresent Him so consistently. Why is this? There are certainly many, many reasons. But, a principal reason, in my opinion, is that we really do not stop to consider what it means to be “Christ-like.”
When we hear this term, don’t we automatically think of some level of piety and perfection that is unattainable, yet mandatory for us to strive for? Is it any wonder that we are miserably inept at being like Him?
When we break it down, being Christ-like means many, many things, depending on which aspect of His character, His mission, His nature, etc, we are examining. For today, we will speak about only one small aspect of His mission.
In Luke 4, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61,”THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. This was a pivotal moment in history, ushering in the ministry of Jesus the Messiah, Yeshua Hamashiach, that would lead to the redemption of mankind. And yet, many of us who call ourselves His disciples remain as captive and oppressed as ever, ineffective and disengaged from His kingdom work.
Brothers, we have been urged to “esteem others better than yourself…look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:2-5) and we are encouraged that the same spirit “who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you..” (Romans 8:11).
How’s this for Christ-like: continue His mission, keeping the same mindset and walking in the same Spirit that He did. He was passionate about preaching deliverance to the captives. Were you a captive Christian, trapped by the entanglements of this world? Have you been cut loose? You have no option-you must fight for the captives! Have this same mindset in you that was in Christ Jesus!!!