Jesus acted audaciously. He healed people, cast out demons, turned over tables in the temple, and had meals with the outcasts of society. But it wasn’t just what he did that made him audacious. It was his vision. He had a purpose that was recklessly bold and daring, and he committed his life to it.
Near the beginning of his ministry, he reads this passage from Isaiah 61 as he’s teaching in the temple: “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.” Then he declares: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
As if claiming that he had come to heal and set free the oppressed wasn’t enough, he was also claiming that it would be a year of the Lord’s favor, or a Year of Jubilee. That doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, a year of favor or jubilee sounds pretty good. But what was it?
It was supposed to happen every 49 years. All of the slaves would be freed, property that had been bought and sold would be returned to its original owners, and no crops would be grown—the land would be allowed to rest (Leviticus 25). It was a year of resetting and returning things to a more equal state. A year to honor the Lord and the fact that everything the Israelites owned was His and to prevent them from taking advantage of each other.
However, there isn’t much evidence that this ever happened. God’s people didn’t do so well with following the law. In fact, the Israelites eventually broke most—maybe all—of God’s laws. Yet God continued to call them His people and rescue them. And the passage that Jesus reads is in the context of God’s restoration of Israel. God promises to send a savior and bring them back to Him, to establish His Kingdom here on the Earth.
And Jesus says it’s time. He’s here. The Kingdom is now.
Wait. This carpenter from a small town who was born in a stable and spent the early years of his life as a refugee thinks he is going to bring God’s kingdom? Him, who isn’t a warrior or a king? He is going to make everything right again?
Audacious, isn’t it? But Jesus wasn’t audacious just for the sake of being so; he knew God’s plan, and he knew his place in it.
Think about it. Take some time to look back through Jesus’ life as recorded in the Bible and consider how his actions and words were not only bold in and of themselves, but reflect the larger vision. Do you live for an audacious purpose? How can you strive to live more audaciously, to live as Jesus did?
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