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Chapter 8



2700 Hundred Years Ago Foretold

2000 Year Ago Realised

Today Applied

Luke 4:16-30, Isaiah 61:1-3 

Not Political Hope, Not Social Dope, but Spiritual Life …



(for the First Part, see Ch. 7)

We are considering Luke 4:16-30, with Isaiah 61:1-3. In the latter prophecy, we find the base from which Jesus quoted, in identifying Himself as the Messiah of whom this spoke.

As seen last time, this led to some seeking in Nazareth to toss Him over a cliff, but they could not since He had yet things to do, to complete His appointed task. Indeed, Isaiah showed just as Christ confirmed, some of the components of Christ's commission in coming to this world. Consider then once more Isaiah 61 here, and what it manifests for His task.

v        1) The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me 

v        2) Because the Lord has anointed me   

v        3) To preach the Gospel to the poor  

v        4) Sent Me to heal the broken-hearted  

v        5) To proclaim liberty to the captives  

v        6) and the opening of the prison to those who are bound  

v        7) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, 

v        8) and the day of vengeance of our God  

v        9) To comfort all who mourn,  

v        10) To console those who mourn in Zion  

v        11) To give them: beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning ,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness:
that they may be called trees of righteousness ,the planting of the LORD,
that He may be glorified.

So far we have covered the first three sectors of this Messianic pronouncement, from which Jesus Christ read in the synagogue, the script provided 700 years before from the prophet Isaiah as God foretold these things. In Isaiah 48:16 we have the intense drama of the Father and the Spirit sending the Son: God the Sender and God the Sent in that glorious love and fertile splendour of the Trinity. You see the same relationship in Isaiah 5, when God protests His appalled sorrow at the gross depravity of Israel, ranking in the heights of ingratitude; for He gave to His Beloved, this vineyard, this productive field of spiritual beauty, skilfully and lovingly prepared, only to have it spoil itself and merit devastation. This Beloved, as in Isaiah 42, this Messiah, this to be skewered (Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 2) in vindictive vice, by His own people, indeed those of His own vineyard, it is He who is the Prince of peace.

Set aside, peace was set aside; and rejected, His own vineyard was rejected; but it was no less than the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:7) who coming a a babe via a virgin, brought both power and purity, so that peace might be found, if not then by the nation in its malevolence and pride, self-sufficiency and woeful wisdom, then at least by individuals (as foretold so clearly in Isaiah 53:10-11, 54-55). The SON, HIS Son, His begotten Son, whose kingdom would never cease: it was HE, whom they killed, He of the trinity, the three in one, three persons, one God! Were they out of their mind! They were soon as a result to be out of their land, for if God does not protect a land, vain is it to look to another. History is a highway for betrayals, an entree for pirates, an extravaganzas of corruption, as far as rule is concerned, and Charles Dickens even wrote a children's history of England in which there was, he indicated, not a great deal of good to be said for rulers. And that! it was one of the more prosperous, more Christian lands, comparatively speaking. It even made a formal parade of being not only Christian but Protestant, outranking a fallacious papacy very rightly, in the name of a glorious Christ.

Rank however is not everything, and hypocrisy even in that blessed isle, despite the wonder of millions of loving, gracious, kindly and godly people, eventually become so notable that sheer unbelief began to make a counter parade, and the nation capitulated, having been delivered at Dunkirk, to the secular forces which made of it an island off Europe, and in increasing ways,  a partition of the impurities of that vast empire, the European Union.

Israel was not alone in recidivism then; and what was left was an odd mixture of papal idolatry and secular infidelity. While this is far from all; it was yet far from immaterial, as more and more of the world fell like a tree long sawed, away from the trinity, to bread for the people in one way or another.

That same Trinity, the eternal Word manifest as Jesus Christ, this was as precisely paralleled in Matthew 3:16-17, II Corinthians 13:14, John 10:30, Matthew 12:28ff., 28:18-20. The sending of the Son, incarnated via the virgin as in Matthew 1, does not expatriate God; but it does deploy His word as Creator, His everlasting Word, into this new action as resident among mankind, in the form of a man, so that He might not only preach the Gospel. In Himself, He became its very centre, agent, focus

Moreover, not only was He this, not alone its exponent but its very expiator. He paid. He did it. On Him was laid the iniquity of all who believe, and from Him go the multitude who then as now, reject Him. Thus the ultimate empathy, the incarnation, preceded the ulterior designs of those who want to SURVIVE, not REVIVE, to find for their own narrow impertinence, a non-repentant unreality, instead of losing their pettiness in peace and finding in redemption their place. It is this world which not only HAS millions of displaced persons, but increasing, as a legal entity, manifests itself AS a displaced multitude.

Deity did not design His vineyard for its designation as a defeated, defiant residue in endless resistance to grace; but what rejects the remedy loses not only its life, but also its recovery. What receives it, will live for ever. The stakes are high; the fakes are forlorn.

So has love spoken past all sacrifice, and done more than all that is courageous. He who made, did; He who built the vineyard, gave His life for it. Insatiable, it seeks its ruin. Undeterrable, He, the living Word of that Trinity, still seeks His own, till that great Age done (as in Matthew 24:12,22), time is up. What a gloriously long time it has been! How grateful one is for His patience (as Peter foretold would be the case in II Peter 3:9).

All things cohere, are consistent as well as insistent, and persistent as well as revealed, and it is restoration which is in mind, before desolation to which this world trends like an outlaw steam-roller, enjoying the ride downhill, but terrorising itself at the same time. It fits like a tailor-made suit: the analysis the symptoms, the cure, the permanence of it, and the time for degradation allowed so far, but no further (cf. Isaiah 57:15-16 cf. Matthew 24:22).

Now we come to more of the charges given to,  and functions of this Messiah, this Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7), whose scorning rejection, as forecast in Isaiah 49:7, 50-53,  has made of this earth a thing of violence increasingly,  as most clearly foretold in Revelation 6 no less than in Matthew 24. It is now not in the least surprising  that horror mounts like a thousand eagles on this God-forsaking earth, each one of them bearing a lamb for laceration. If it is not Sudan, it is Hamas, or Hezbollah, or other obliterationists for Israel's demise, citing an alien God whom no evidence can ever attest (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4), nor verifications  or power confirm.

Indeed for 60 years and more, powerless,  this man-made god of Islam has been unable as the words of Matathir exhibit to the vast and populous Moslem world, to extinguish or subdue little Israel, not a few of whom, in families from 1948 and on, have come from the Holocaust, that gentle Gentile parallel to Islamic terror, which made not one but two chief extinction programs for Israel the land  if necessary, or else for the Jew, depending on the case. Indeed what better is to be found empirically for all the other gods of this world, who have come to fill the gap left by God Almighty, the Creator and Redeemer, in the slaughter of Jesus Christ.

But it is not just that despite His bodily resurrection and all things moving on time and on target, from His life, death and arising to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70,  on to the restoration in 1948 amid spectacular victories for Israel, contrary even to all that statistics of arms would suggest, people still refuse Him, and so still inherit the whirlwind which comes to those who sow the wind as Hosea shows in 8:7. Man today is even inventing gods such as Israel so foolishly toyed with (Jeremiah 2:28-29), and they arise like smog in the cities, to choke the makers. It is man who should seek his Maker, who has already overwhelmingly shown both His hand and His love and mercy, not make imaginary substitutes in order to be left helpless as the tempers, tantrums and glory-seeking perversions of man come to lash him from his own hand!

But consider all of mankind’s doings, and the need for the service of this Messiah, who is STILL offering what He came to provide (II Corinthians 6:1ff.). .

If it is not the Middle Eastern bombardment of the tiny sliver of land Israel has dared to hold, or complaints it is defending itself, then it is Pakistan vying with India, or China exterminating free worship (though recently it has been estimated that there are many more Protestants in China than members of the Communist Party - this by a number of millions, and some play is beginning about these two cadres), or Moslem lands assailing Christians.

Indeed, this is not at all all. Even in the USA or even Australia, the impounding of school children and youth in universities and colleges is a high-level pathology and pandemic, ensuring that they imbibe the irrationalist follies of naturalism, founded on nothing, their source and resource, though they do not always like to admit the necessities of the case.

Despite all this, the Gospel to the Poor, whether in this or any other clime and period is the work for the Messiah. They may be in Australia, immersed in the Secular Society, feeding bodies and oppressing souls, or  India where since August 24, 2008, it is found that according to one report cited from the All India Christian Council, 57 people have been killed, over 18,000 injured, over 4300 houses destroyed and 13 educational institutions destroyed. The Council named has issued a progress report which is informative


More is to be found.

 Meanwhile, there is report (Reuters, July 16, 2008, with further detailed news item available) that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has played host to a host of religious bodies, Muslim, World Council of Churches, Jewish, Buddhists, Sikhs and Zoroastrians, declaring that "We all believe in one God who sent messengers for the good of humanity in this world and the hereafter." So the diffusion of confusion like poisonous gases in World War I continues.

So the diffusion of confusion like poisonous gases in World War I continues.

Thus have met for consultation, the powers of oil and the scimitar, with their book, and others with their writings and non-god or god or whatever form or fashion they invent. These, they are to be carted together, those who have no ACTUAL God, but rather a roaring silence (as one of them puts it), together with those who have one who uses force exceedingly much and almost subdued Europe in the 8th century AD. These with others, all are combined to consider their wholly different messages, gods or pseudo-gods, though they resemble each other as light and darkness, truth and fiction, harmony and friction.

Ignoring the fact that there is ONLY ONE TESTABLE religion and VERIFIED word of God*1, they proceed as if in ignorance of that  only ONE SAVIOUR who has shed His blood in ONLY ONE PLACE, and date as predicted in Daniel*2, and this for any and all who are the poor, poor enough in spirit to LISTEN, and to come and repenting find the God of free salvation.  



The poor need no funds and the weak no macho. It is a gift. There is no aristocracy to come first; there are none violent to seize the prey, for so far is the actual Jesus Christ from violence is fulminating pursuit of faith, that He REFUSED EVEN to have HIMSELF defended, telling His servant Peter to put up His sword. IF MY KINGDOM were of this world, He told Pilate, then My servants would fight (John 18); but now! His kingdom is not from here.

Is this Author of mankind, to vie for prestige or power or prevailing amid the finite units which He created as mankind! Is such a tiny thing to attract Him who rejected rule over ALL the kingdoms of this world, rather then follow the Satan who loves power and impurity, pride and pretence adequately spiced with pretension! What He did, kings rarely think to attempt, and what the regality of deity decided to achieve, was the ultimate healing without force, faith without pretence to be the instrument, and Christ the One to wield it as sin was severed from the soul, as reigning monarch (Romans 6, 8), and God Himself found in His people, what man was meant to be (Colossians 3:10).

As to Him whose Gospel we hear, it is He who was so to act, and has acted on time*2, in place (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 2) and by grace (Isaiah 55), precisely as He said. He is not only eternal, but unique; not only all-pitiful, but the liberator who seeks liberty out of love, and refuses to entrance those who seek mere self-indulgence, with propaganda such as is so common with the princes of this world.

For no charge (Romans 3:23ff.,. Isaiah 55), but with all facility He operates to this day. As Jerusalem is now back with Israel, the time of the day is well advanced (Luke 21:24), and His return to complete the double volume (Luke 24:25-26) of His wonders, is soon, is literally "near"*3.

The broken bodies and lacerated hearts, the bruised spirits and the saddened squalor of the human psyche is HIS operating subject, and He as God ALONE KNOWS the realities, the hidings or the duplicity, the sincerity or the sense of need, and gives to each according to the case. He does not feed those vomiting with their own fulness; it is those who hunger and thirst after righteousness who are filled (Matthew 5).

It takes a HUNGRY heart to eat the meat of salvation (John 6:50), to accept His death in the flesh as the price of sin and to receive His pardon as the One who has borne this; and it takes a THIRSTY SPIRIT to drink of the waters of salvation. Yet for those who do, the heart itself is healed, with a new purpose in the personal salvation of God, who provides, the Almighty, the First and the Last*4. Peace becomes like a river, and joy like a spring. What He lamented, as the Sent Saviour from the Trinity as seen in Isaiah 48:16ff., for those who might have had such a peaceful beauty in their goings as does a river in its movement from the heights to the sea (cf. Jeremiah 2:17-37, 9:13, 18:14).

Holiness becomes like the air of the spirit, and if pollution seek to invade it, then purging overturns the betrayal (as with Peter), and purity resumes. The breaching force is broken, and the teaching power is awakened; the brevity of life becomes a launching pad for eternal life and happiness of heart surges, for "the joy of the Lord shall be your strength" as we see in Nehemiah, when the temple was rebuilt, just as the temple, the broken, polluted and fallen temple of man is rebuilt, and because living, reborn! (John 3, Titus 3:3-5).

But how great is the gift and how challenging the purity, how glorious the grace and how insignificant the suffering, when a person becomes His, cleansed as by the ocean waters, both pure and purifying, both clean and cleansing; but their ocean this time, it is the blood of the Lamb, the spiritual sacrifice in physical format, who spoke the last word of pity, and then showed the first word of the New Covenant in its power, by His resurrection in that body, providing peace with plenitude, and access to the glory of God in stable security (John 10:9,27-28). What then for those whom He purchases, God with His gift in grace of Himself for the race, as many as took Him ? It becomes in Him joy unspeakable and full of glory as Peter declared (I Peter 1:1-18).

If sorrow challenges, power provides; if calumny offends, then grace intervenes. We forgive as those who have been forgiven. But let us see further the mission and commission Christ.


and the OPENING of PRISON to those who are BOUND

The first and chief captivity is what lies in the human heart, when the chains of some philosophy, or psychic compulsion, some hardness or unforgiveness (which excludes from heaven - Matthew 6:14), some vengefulness or godlike but graceless desire to rule others, puts its free nature into a prison. It is one of folly and weakness, masquerading as strength.

Physical bodies in prisons are far less troubled, since at least they do as such not HAVE to have an INVASION inside them, making them cripples without nobility, filthy though apparently washed and foolish though aspiring to be wise. Finding the Lord brings the power to overcome, and this by faith in HIM! THIS is the faith which overcomes the world says I John 4, your FAITH; and THIS is the object of that faith: it is  HE who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless (because of His blood cover) before the face of His father (Jude).

If the SON will make you free, you will be really free! said Jesus the Christ (John 8:34-36). It is sin which captures and grace which pardons and strength which enables you to overcome as your whole soul waits ONLY UPON HIM! (cf. Psalm 143). Even if you must suffer as did John the Baptist, your spirit is free; and even if you be stoned, as was Stephen, your spirit soars and your companion, your Friend, the Lord has better things for you than mere polytheistic, atheistic or invented gods can give (John 5:24, Ephesians 1:11). Can THEY save ? Of course not! as Jeremiah 10:11 points out. These false gods, foolish idols, they cannot even save themselves, any more in Stalin, by report helpless when murdered in sickness, than in Hitler, suicidal in a close to the action bunker, shown to be bunk. Their idols go with them, and they with their idols; but for the one whom God saves, captivity becomes the alien, and belonging to God, the pageant of purity, the vital landscape of beauty, become soulscape in spiritual lands. To know God is to "sit in heavenly places", like a horse being groomed by its rider or a dog, welcomed by its delighted master, but more than this, as man is more than they.

Indeed the gods that man makes to satisfy tribal ferocity or intellectual pride or dominion or whatever other folly and filth of man, these can do NOTHING when power is needed; but as David declares, Power belongs to God! He knew because he had seen it over and again through faith and the covenant provided (Psalm 62:11, compare Matthew 28:18-20). In freely worshipping and following the Lord, liberty is in love consummated. But there is even more in the gift of Christ, in His mission and commission as seen in Isaiah.  



Every 50 years, all debts had to be cancelled, land returned: it was called the jubilee year as seen in Leviticus 25. In essence, this Year had three special features. Firstly, any Israelite who had become a slave to another, had to be freely released. Secondly, any ancestral land sold because of poverty, had to be restored. Thirdly, the land itself had to be given a rest, and lie fallow that year.

What that meant SOCIALLY and INDIVIDUALLY to the slaves and to the landless, yes and to the land enabled to rest after so much labour for so long, was here applied to things  SPIRITUAL. Thus, however long sinners had been sheltering under excuses,  or penetrated by unwelcome sin, yet here was the sudden new horizon. The distant and hopeless deliverance was now at ONCE, as when Christ healed the woman who merely touched BY FAITH the hem of His garment . WHO TOUCHED ME! He asked. Many had pressed against Him, but only ONE did this action by FAITH with such a purpose, and this one was instantly healed. While God does not accept dictation, He does know faith, as distinct from presumption, and the heart that being arrested first itself, seeks Him with passion,  finds He hears and answers with that wisdom which is not ours to create, but which solves mysteries and meets need.

We cannot deliver all men, but only through faith can we ensure that OUR part in any divine outreach is wisely given in answer to faith, supported by divine power and wrought in spiritual grace. Storming at God is useless; but importunity on due issues is recommended. Love must be the mandate, faith the bearer of our message and trust  the cornerstone, for trusting in one's own power to get from God or anyone else is mere self-vaunting; whereas trusting in Him who knows His own mind and answers faith with meaning, even if he SLAYS us, this is the criterion for those who have learned to take up their cross, rather than their spiritual mobile phone, to seek rather than direct the Lord.

Freed from fidgets, we are then ready to be instructed; for this team has but one Head. It is He who rose from the dead, and knows the end from the beginning. It is He who gives the heart's desire to those who trust Him, wait upon Him, and delight themselves in Him (Psalm 37:2ff.). Few come in contrition and without inhibition, by faith. It is no less necessary. To JERUSALEM, before it was destroyed in AD 70, Jesus addressed His divine lament:

"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,
the things that make for your peace!
But now they are hidden from your eyes.
For days will come upon you when your enemies will ... level you, and your children within you ..."

When our shallow preoccupations are denied us, it is easy to chide and chafe and expect God to try to measure up to our democratic chastisements; but it is merely the moaning of the flesh which is sent on ... It is necessary to open the eyes and find whether you are contributing to His work, close in His prayer groups, incendiary in flaming for Him in uncompromising devotion, to see what is the timely action and ACT, not complain. He makes His servants a flame of fire, not a guttering candle. But if any come to that, then repentance, not complaint is the need. THEN sight can come and NOT knowing the day of His opportunity, which destroyed sightless Jerusalem, this will be replaced by acute hearing and understanding and passionate obedience to His word with all the heart.

God is a Spirit; it is not the articulation (important as this is), but the love of spirit which embraces Him and His words, which is crucial (John 14:21ff.). Faith trusts, trust obeys and considers that only normal! Let this now be YOUR jubilee year of utter relief and complete dependence in faith on the God of free salvation, the Lord of absolute power and the sender of servants to follow His word and apply it, both Gospel and commands, in a fallen world. This is awaiting the pit (Matthew 24:35), as was a warned Jerusalem in its day: and that in merely one generation.  NOW is the time. Let Israel teach you by its error, and Christ reach and confirm you by His life.




*1 See for example:






Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.





On this see, SMR pp. 889ff., 959ff..

For a short treatment, see: Mini-Messages ... Ch. 10.



See Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8.



Josh McDowell's More Than a Carpenter presents an interesting emphasis in dealing with this fact.