He was born into captivity. God in a man’s body. That is imprisonment. But He chose to be born, to become a man, and to dwell among us. To live with us, then die for us. So that He could break us out. But, to set captives free, He first had to break out. At His baptism, the Spirit descended on Him like a dove. Immediately He was led by that same Spirit into the wilderness. Forty days of fasting…and we would all guess an enormous amount of quiet time listening to His Father. Then the enemy, Satan himself, attempted to captivate Jesus by trying the same thing he did in the garden…the enemy miss-quoted what God had said. Jesus passed through that test by letting Satan know ‘exactly’ what God had said (it is incredibly important to know what God said, and still says).
But this wasn’t His first brush with imprisoned living. Jesus was born into an oppressive world where the governmental system was very dictatorial. And the prevailing religious system was incredibly regulated and systematic. A fishbowl religion in itself. Those who were supposed to be there to point to God, had set up their own version of prison. Religious prison. The relationship with God had been missing from that system, for the most part, for quite some time. And those living without God, in sin were imprisoned by the enemy.
Jesus was planning a prison break. He had to start the break Himself before He could truly break us out. He set up a new system. A relational system. It was all finished by the cross and the empty tomb. And at that point, He had then done all He was to do…this time J But let’s back up a bit.
When did Jesus know all this? When did Mary tell Him about the visit from the angel? And when did Joseph tell Jesus his side of what happened with an angelic visit? How long did Mary ponder those things in her heart? When did Jesus begin to recognize He was different? That He was God? When did He know who He was and what He was to do? When did it come to His mind that Isaiah 61 was talking about Him? At the age of 12 He amazed those in the temple. After going back to find Him in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph “found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished.” Luke 2:46-48. We don’t know the answers to those questions. We do know He broke out.
Jesus did follow the customs of Israel and taught well till age 30. We have no record of where He taught and what He did. Only that Joseph was a carpenter/stone mason. We assume Jesus did some of what His father did. Then there was that fateful day not long after his baptism and the forty days in the wilderness. It was His custom to go the synagogue on the Sabbath in Nazareth where He was born. Then one Sabbath He read from Isaiah 61. “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21. (emphasis mine). This was a drop the mic, or scroll, moment. A few verses later they were trying to throw Him off a cliff.
Are we as free as He wants us to be? Are we as free as we could be?
Ask Him to show you where you are pent up. Encased by your own fish prison. Ask Him to show you where you are captive, and where you could be free. Freedom in Christ is available. We must choose it.
Ask Him. Say this. ‘Jesus, help me to know you better so I can follow you more closely, and see better those you want me to help.’
From God’s Word:
- Isaiah 61
- Luke 2:46-48
- Luke 4:17-21