"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, liberty to those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." - Luke 4
We find these words in this Sunday's Gospel reading from Luke chapter 4, as Jesus steps up as the lay reader of the day and reads from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth. These are the first words of Jesus' public ministry that Luke records. This scene is a very important one in understanding who Jesus is and what he is doing in the Gospel of Luke. You could almost say that this is Jesus’ Inaugural Address.
Inaugural addresses are important. The President of the United States just used his inaugural address to announce the so-called successes of his two terms in office, and his future vision for America. It's all about priorities, mission, vision, direction. A century and a half ago, President Abraham Lincoln used his second inaugural address to do something no President had ever done before - to speak critically about his own country in order to deal with the evil of slavery. He spoke about the toll that it had taken, and the need to stay the course in order to resolve both the war and the cause of liberty.
So what kind of things do we hear in Jesus’ inaugural address? An announcement of his mission. An illustration of His vision. A description of the very kingdom of God He comes to bring.
All of this and more is summarized by these first words from Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor ..."