There are several places in the gospels when Jesus states his mission. This is perhaps the most intentional statement of it as he introduces himself. The statement shows Luke’s emphasis on Jesus’ focus on the poor as well as connects him to the one prophesied in the Old Testament.
“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. (Luke 4:18-19 ESV)
In the beatitudes of Matthew Jesus says, “blessed are the poor in spirit” while in Luke he simply says, “blessed are the poor”. Luke shows us how the poor are in a better position to receive the Kingdom of God. Their hope in other things is gone. Their idols have been exposed as powerless. This is where a person must be to receive the Lord. The rich are shielded from their true need by the comforts and worries that money brings. This is why Jesus later explains that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Our time at two different recovery missions spoke the same thing to us. One was a testimonial from a man a year into his recovery. He shared the dangers of wealth and his determination to stay away from it. The other came from the director who had learned NOT to place goes going out the door in positions that had great earning potential simply because of the temptations that would bring in their future.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: Jg 21, Acts 25, Jer 35, Lk 4