It is a staggering thought. Think of it: The Word—that is, Logos in the Greek, which meant all the knowledge that could be known—the plan of creation—that is, ultimate reality—becomes mere man? And that He was not born of an earthly king and queen, but of a virgin of a backwater village named Nazareth? Certainly God delights in confounding worldly wisdom—and human expectations.
Thirty years after His humble birth, Jesus increased the Jews’ befuddlement when He read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives…to set free those who are downtrodden…” Jesus then turned the scroll back and announced, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Do we get this? I am afraid most of us are so preoccupied, distracted by last-minute Christmas shopping and consumerism, that we fail to see God’s cosmic plan of redemption in which we, as fallen creatures, are directly involved.
The average Christian may not “get” this announcement, but those locked behind bars do. Whenever I preach in the prisons, and I read Christ’s inaugural sermon, Luke 4:18, and when I quote His promise of freedom for prisoners, they often raise their arms and cheer. The message of Jesus means freedom and victory for those who once had no hope. They are not distracted by the encumbrance of wealth and comfort.
People in the developing world get it, too. Whenever I have shared this message with the poor and oppressed people overseas, I see eyes brightening. Stripped of all material blessings, exploited by earthly powers, they long for the bold new kingdom of Christ.