“Jesus had a target audience. The poor. The brokenhearted. Captives. The blind and oppressed. His to-do list? Help for the body and soul, strength for the physical and spiritual, therapy for the temporal and eternal. ‘This is my mission statement,’ Jesus declared. The Nazareth Manifesto.”- Max Lucado
“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to [Jesus]. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he anointed me to proclaim goodness 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.”- Luke 4:17-19 (NIV)
In Chapter 10 (“Stand Up for the Have Nots”) of Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado talks about how the early church ministered to widows. According to the culture of that time, the widow’s extended family provided support. However, extended families disowned their Christian relatives. Hence, that left the widows of the church with only one place to go – the church.
Furthermore, a problem soon arose. Greek-speaking believers complained that the church overlooked their widows. Because they were outsiders, immigrants. So, how did the church respond? Certainly, the leaders couldn’t dismiss this disparity as an unnecessary concern. Their Master, Jesus didn’t.
In addition, Jesus declared His passion for the poor in His first message. Jesus delivered His ‘inaugural address’ when he returned to Nazareth, His hometown. Also, Pastor Lucado notes, this represents the only such moment in all the Gospels where Jesus selected and read Scripture. And the verses He quoted, as reported in Luke 4:18-19? Isaiah 61:1-2.
Finally, as Max states in the next blog, the acceptable year of the Lord (NKJV) most accurately describes Jesus’ radical commitment to the poor.
Today’s question: When do you take the opportunity to minister to Jesus’ target audience? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The year of Jubilee and God’s Heart”