favor

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,

and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

                                                                   Luke 4:16-21

 

The time of the Lord’s favor has come.

 

It’s an insightful piece of Scripture that Jesus quotes about himself. Insightful because it points out that God’s anointed one would come, not to defeat empires or set up easy living for God’s people, but come instead to forever change the lives of the poor, the captive, the blind, and the oppressed.

 

It is even more important to read in light of the last words from Isaiah that Jesus reads:

 

The time of the Lord’s favor has come.

 

This is important because I think it changes our natural assumptions about favor. So many voices within the church are calling for us—the rich, free, advantaged ones—to get more favor from God. And often that favor is described in terms of easy living and granted wish-lists of stuff. God has been made out to be an easily pleased deity who simply wants to make us happy if we would just ask nicely enough.

 

But here the favor is the good news—the gospel. It’s salvation and life transformation. It is being set free and being given hope. It is eyes to see as God sees and riches beyond our wildest dreams—just not the temporary, paltry “riches” we often think we want.

 

It’s no wonder that the world finds Jesus followers largely un-compelling and our life choices undesirable. We aren’t living in the favor that changes and transforms us. We aren’t living in the favor that carries the power of resurrection. We are instead chasing after the cheap imitations that world calls favor.

 

When Jesus comes with the Lord’s favor he comes to meet us where we are, in the traps and brokenness and sin we find ourselves in. He comes to set us free and give us sight; to provide for our needs and bless us beyond merit. He comes to bring real favor that lasts and makes lasting changes in us.

 

It has been fulfilled—the coming of this favor that is good news to the impoverished and sight for the unseeing. This favor that frees the prisoners and unburdens the oppressed. It has come. It has been done. Jesus has made it so and brought the Lord’s favor to the doorstep of our hearts. He offers us everything that true, life-transforming freedom from sin can offer. He has given us radical love that can turn the entirety of the world upside down. If only we would stop trading eternal, reckless, love for meager attempts at satisfying the desires of our broken hearts.

 

A life changed by the freeing gospel of Jesus is favor like the world cannot find a part from Jesus. May they see it in his people.

 

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One thought on “favor

  1. “We are instead chasing after the cheap imitations that world calls favor.” Yup. That sums up the problem with the prosperity gospel. It’s not that God doesn’t wish us to have prosperity. It’s that we don’t that God’s prosperity includes discomfort and humility and suffering.

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