O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are downtrodden,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” 20 And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Jesus, our Immanuel, continues to proclaim his purpose from Isaiah’s prophecy:
- To proclaim freedom to the captive – while his audience may currently think their enemy is Rome, the ultimate slave driver is sin. Sin pushes thinking, perspectives, choices, habits and other behavior that take us deeper and deeper into its enslavement! Jesus has come to free us from sin and its consequences!
- To give sight to the blind – while he certainly opens the eyes of the physically blind during his earthly ministry, I believe this is again a reference to the effect of sin. Paul tells us in his second letter to the Christians at Corinth, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus has come to open our spiritual eyes so we can SEE the way out!
This child who was prophesied so long ago, who was born to Mary and Joseph, who is now grown and carrying out his Immanuel mission, is truly God with us. Only God could do what he has done. We’ll continue our study tomorrow, but for today, consider your own personal “sin cycle.” How has Jesus broken that in you? And if you have surrendered to him as Savior and King, take some time today to recall the moment or moments where your spiritual eyes were opened so you could see Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life — the Way out.