Statement of Intent Part 1
Over my lifetime I have heard or even made many statements of intent, but recently I heard that Jesus made a statement that started and drove His intent. A pastor friend of mine (Mark Van Steenwyk) is writing a book called “The Jesus Manifesto”. “The Jesus Manifesto” refers to Luke 4:18-19, Jesus, after getting tested in the wilderness, gives his first sermon in his hometown. He opens the scroll of Isaiah and read what is to be His manifesto:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
By reading from Isaiah 61, Jesus not only proclaims himself to be the Messiah (the political ruler who would rescue Israel from its enemies), but also that his Messianic reign would defy the peoples’ expectations. Jesus quotes the beginning of Isaiah 61, but leaves out the proclamation of vengeance. Jesus’ hometown gets the point: this proclamation of the “Lord’s favor” (Jubilee) is being extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. And in response, they try to kill him. With this manifesto, Jesus sets the course for His ministry of subversive love. The rest of Luke-Acts is the fleshing out of this manifesto–first for Christ and then for His Church. Luke, perhaps more than any other Gospel writer, understands the subversive implications of Jesus’ life and ministry. Luke tends to write from the aspect that Jesus is a man and that helps us to understand why he writes the way he does. Jesus turns everything upside down; He challenges the majority of economic, religious, and political assumptions of the time. As the Church, we have been sent by Christ into the world just as He was sent by his Father (John 20:21). Jesus’ manifesto is our manifesto.
Have you joined Him?