Freedom for the Captives??

Another Christmas season, our second here in Nicaragua, is already upon us! The season reminds us of, among many other things, God’s amazing act of love, becoming human and living among us. I’m honestly not sure why I feel the need to share this post now. It very well might knock you out of that “Christmas spirit”, but somehow it feels right to me.

Isaiah, some 700 years before Jesus’ birth, prophesied many times about the coming of a savior, someone who will come to restore and renew. In Isaiah 61 he proclaims:

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Luke tells us in his gospel that Jesus stood up and read this passage from Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth and concluded by saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:14-21)

So how do we understand these words today, 2,000 years after Jesus spoke them? How do we proclaim good news to the poor? Who are the captives and the prisoners and how do we free them?

I don’t know exactly, and I don’t think there is any one right answer either. However, a recent blog post by our MCC Nicaraguan co-workers Kevin and Cassie Zonnefeld got me thinking about these verses, ones that I think we should all consider especially as we celebrate once again the birth of our Savior and what that means for us, his followers.

I would encourage you to check out the website, The Slavery Footprint, which brought these verses closer to home for me, realizing that all over the world, here in Nicaragua and back home in the States, forms of slavery still exist. So take the quiz and share with us your thoughts and even your results if you want to!

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