A good way to understand more about the Jesus Christ is to understand His mission, or purpose in coming to the earth. Long before Christ came to the earth, the Prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied of a Messiah who would come to the earth and dwell in the flesh.
Of course, Christ, as Jehovah, gave these prophecies to the Old Testament Prophets. Christ, also raised in a faithful Jewish home, was taught the scriptures. Eventually, when He began His ministry, He announced Himself to the Jews by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2. As recorded in Luke, Christ reads:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:18-19
In these two verses we have a fun little List. We can mark and study it to learn more about Christ’s Mission.
List: Christ’s Mission
- Preach the Gospel to the Poor – As I read this point, I’m instantly reminded of the Beatitudes when Christ teaches: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3). I wonder if there is a connection here between the poor – as mentioned in the scripture in Luke and the poor in spirit who will inherit the kingdom of God. In the footnotes to Matthew 5:3, we learn that “Poor in Spirit” is an Idiomatic Expression that means “Poor in pride; or humble in Spirit.”.
This makes a lot of sense. The Lord preaches the gospel to those who will allow themselves to be taught. If we are humble, then we can receive divine instruction from Christ.
Oh – and I think that we should take this a step further: what is the gospel? It is the “good news of Christ”. It is the fact that He will help us to overcome the effects of the fall – both death and sin. We cannot truly learn the gospel if we aren’t willing to be humble. Humility is necessary – on our parts – in that we must admit that we natural men and women are weak and need a Savior.
- Heal the broken-hearted – at first glance, I thought that this meant that Chris will comfort us when we are feeling “broken-hearted” or sad. And that is true. Christ does comfort us. He heals us.
Yet, upon further reflection, I was reminded of the sacrifice we have been commanded to give: “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” (3 Nephi 9:20). This makes me realize that I have a little bit of responsibility in being Healed by Christ, and that “broken-hearted” may be more of a heart condition we choose rather than suffer from. (or maybe a little bit of both, sometimes.)
In any case, when we come to the Lord, with a broken heart, then He will heal us.
- Preach deliverance to the Captives – We are all captive. We are captives to the conditions of mortality, we are captive to the consequences of Sin. Christ can deliver us. He teaches us how to be delivered, by choosing to accept His atoning power.
I suppose that this also means a little bit more, too (as usual). When I think of Christ Preaching Deliverance to the Captives, my mind recalls those spirits that the Lord visited when he was in the grave for three days. Through modern revelation, we learn:
“While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.” – Doctrine and Covenants 138:18-19
Christ preached deliverance to those who were captive to death. This is a pretty dramatic example, but it is Christ’s ultimate purpose – to deliver us from death and hell. We can receive deliverance when we do as He has taught – have faith, repent, and be baptized. There is no other way.
- Recovering the Sight to the Blind – So, this has to be one of my favorite types of miracles that the Savior performs during His ministry on the earth. So often, we see accounts of Him helping the blind to see.
So, I’ve thought about this. Over the years, I have developed a need for glasses. I have to wear them all the time. I need them. Then there are people like my husband. I realize that if he had been born in the Savior’s time, he would have been considered a “Blind” person. He has been wearing glasses since he was a young child. He can’t really see anything unless he is wearing his glasses. It is strange to think that Homey, the man who supports our family so well, he is so intelligent and disciplined, would have probably been a beggar, bound by his lack of good eyesight during the time of Christ.
Of course this is also a spiritual teaching. Christ restores our spiritual sight. Just as words will disappear from a chalkboard when I remove my contact lenses, items that are spiritually discerned will disappear when we remove the Lens of the Spirit – that comes through Christ.
- Liberate the Bruised – So…I have to admit, this one seems a little strange to me – at first. I am wondering what, exactly, is meant by bruised? So…thinking back on the word bruised in the scriptures, I’m reminded of the cursing of Satan – after Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15
Here we learn about two “bruisings”… – (1) The seed of the woman is bruised. (thou shalt bruise his heel). We are all “bruised” through the fall and death. Even Christ had to succumb to this reality (of course, he did it voluntarily). Christ was bruised – in the proverbial heel. And we are all “bruised” in that we must suffer death and the effects of the fall. Satan’s influence can be felt by us.
But that’s not all. (2) Christ – with the very heel that was bruised, bruises (or CRUSHES) the head of the Serpent. Christ did crush death – through His resurrection. If we go to Christ, then the devil has no power over us – we are bruised, yet can be liberated…This is what Christ came here to do.
- Preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord – I have to admit, I’m still not sure what this means. I think that I will have to do some more searching. So far, it seems to be about Judgment – and Christ’s role in it. hmm….what do you think?
I hope you have enjoyed studying this list. I love learning more about the Savior. I find that studying everything about Him – His life, ministry, teachings, and mission – help me to understand more about my relationship with Him and the role the atonement has in my life. How does this list help you to understand more about the Savior? What point resonates with you? Why?
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