In ancient times, anointing was a cultural practice used by shepherds to protect their sheep. The pouring of oil on a sheep’s head would make it slippery for insects to cling onto the sheep’s fur thereby preventing an infestation. It became a symbol of God’s blessing and protection and is associated with a consecration for a divine purpose such as the priestly, prophetic and kingly vocations. By proclaiming that he was the anointed one, Jesus declares that he was chosen by God to bring salvation.
What of salvation do you need? Why was Jesus sent to redeem us? The truth is that we are sinners. Many a time we do not realise that we are dependent on God and with our pride, think we are self-sufficient but are in fact poor with the graces of God. Hence, Jesus was anointed to bring good news to the poor, news that we have a loving Father who is Yahweh-yireh (Genesis 22:14, means “the Lord will provide”).
The poor in Spirit are the recipients of the good news. They are the imprisoned, blind and oppressed in their lives, the neglected, ostracized of society. Sin holds us captive as slaves. It makes us blind to God’s presence for when all we see is our own pain, we lose sight of God. (Ref: The Shack, William P Young)
Sin makes us burdened and weighed down. Therefore, God sends us his Son, Jesus, to free us from our sins and save us from all distress. Jesus says “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 12:28) Do you believe in your salvation?
The Holy Spirit in Luke’s gospel leads, fills and empowers people for prophetic work. Our passage opens with Jesus returning with the Holy Spirit to Galilee from the wilderness. He had just overcome temptation and has been strengthened by the experience. From this experience, he became ready to begin his public ministry and will travel from town to town to teach, heal and live out the living word so that people can see the salvation that God offers. Do you listen to the Holy Spirit and allow him to lead you in your daily life? The Spirit of the Lord rests on us to lead us to proclaim the good news to the poor.
Luke was writing an orderly account to “most excellent Theophilus”. “Most excellent” was the title of Theophilus (Θεοφιλος, “lover of God”, derived from theos “god” and philos “brotherly love”). Theophilus was a gentile, likely a Roman government official who had previously received some instruction about Jesus. Luke’s gospel therefore is directed at believers like Theophilus who need assurance that what they have been taught is truth. Despite the word of God surviving through thousands of years of history, it is to date a difficult teaching to accept. Are you a Theophilus seeking for the truth? Do you believe that Jesus is the living word?
Psa 19:8. “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.” Heb 4:12 “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
Saint Augustine wrote of a human yearning to move to complete fulfilment. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord,” he wrote in his Confessions, “and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” It reminds us that perfection can be attained through the grace of Jesus. In St Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, we can find the way to perfection by becoming part of the body of Christ, each part graced with individual gits – even our weaknesses. We must realise that we are not alone on our journey to perfection. God has given us his Son, who lives in each and every one of us. By meditating on the word of God, Emmanuel, God with us, we are able to fulfil our yearning. Do we allow God to fulfil his promise in us?
The living word of God is for everyone. It is love poured down from God our Father to us who are his beloved children. This living word is also none other than Jesus, incarnate Son of God. God speaks to us through His word. Today, Jesus is telling us that as the Anointed One, he is the fulfilment of God’s promises and with authority has come to save us, to lead Israel back to the law. He fulfils the promise that the Lord has not forgotten His people, even if they have lost their way while yearning for complete fulfilment.
Spend some time with the Lord in scripture today. Let us pray that when we encounter Jesus in our hearts saying “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63), we may have the same response as Simon Peter did “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)
By Marianne Choo
Questions for Reflection
Does the Holy Spirit direct your life?
Do you read the bible constantly?
What is it that you are seeking in your life?