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, concludes the declaration of his purpose in coming in the flesh with the reading of Isaiah 61:1-2:
- To release the oppressed – His audience thought their oppressor was Rome but they were mistaken. It was their own sin as orchestrated by Satan. The devil has entrapped humanity in this sin cycle — and even every one of us today knows it — doing the things we hate, saying things we regret, making choices that increase our pain and frustration… Jesus has come to set humanity free!
- To proclaim the Lord’s favor – Many don’t realize it, but this is a reference to the Year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25:9-15ff). Every fiftieth year, in the year of Jubilee, God ordained that slaves were set free, debts cancelled, and life itself was got a new start. If the family land had been sold to another, it was returned. Every 50th year, EVERYTHING WAS MADE RIGHT AND FREE AGAIN! Here Jesus is declaring the ultimate fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee – He came to make all things new again (Revelation 21:5; Isaiah 43:19; 65:7; Ephesians 2:15; 4:24; Hebrews 8:13)!
This is our Immanuel, GOD WITH US! He has come. And with him the kingdom correction that restores all creation to its original, glorious design. He establishes freedom from all that binds us. He restores to us all that was stolen — or even that which, by sin, we willing gave away. For today, consider all that we have learned this week. It’s all for your sake. If you have already surrendered to Christ as Savior and King, rejoice! Your Immanuel has come! If you’re still trying to figure Jesus and his Church out, I would invite you to begin a conversation with someone who is already walking out this wonderful Faith. Your Immanuel has come as well, and he’s waiting for you to receive him.