I wonder if you ever wanted to change the world? Maybe you still do…
I wonder if maybe a long time ago you dreamed of changing the world but as life has gone along those dreams have faded. Maybe you worry that life has or is passing you by and your chance to change things is fading, maybe you think you’re too young.
My confession – I have always wanted to change the world, my confession is that I still do and I believe now more than ever that it is possible. I believe that it is possible for one passionate and committed person to change the world and I believe that it is possible that each one of us can do that and I certainly believe that it is possible for the more than 300 people who will be here at ABC today to change the world.
This series about that, how we do that and to find out how we are going to look to the life of the one person who has changed the world more than any other.
Would it surprise you to know that right at the start of his three-year term of ministry Jesus delivered his manifesto? And it starts with Jesus going home – he had been away, but returned home to launch his public ministry. You can find it in Luke’s account of Jesus’ life: Luk4 Chapter 4 verses 14 to 21.
Up until now Luke has documented the early life of Jesus – his birth, his childhood, his baptism and just before this section we have been given a glimpse into the one to one connection Jesus has to his heavenly Father. But this passage is the beginning of a new section of Luke’s account where he is asking the question – who is Jesus really? Luke loves to note throughout his account how Jesus was responsive to the leading of his heavenly Father and he does that again here and news about him spreads.
He is given the scroll that contains the writings of a prophet called Isaiah. And he selects the passage he wants; he has something he wants to say – don’t miss that – he found the place…and he reads it to them.
The prophet Isaiah writing several hundred years before was predicting a time when someone would come of whom these words would be true, and Jesus is saying it is here, it is me: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, he has anointed me, sent me.
I am here to proclaim good news for the poor, freedom for the prisoners. I am here to bring recovery of sight, freedom for the oppressed. I am here to proclaim the year of God’s favour.
Jesus’ task involves a message and that message has an audience – the poor. And poor means both those who are materially and physically poor and those who are spiritually poor.
Throughout this section of the passage we see that double meaning of physical and spiritual needs:
The economically poor and the spiritually poor who need good news
Those imprisoned by situations and circumstances and those spiritually locked up who need freedom
The physically blind and those walking in spiritual blackness who need light in their darkness
Those suffering oppression and injustice and the spiritually beleaguered who need liberty
And Jesus saying good news, freedom, light and liberation is here and it is me.
So you want to change the world? Start by following in the footsteps of Jesus and humbly serve the poor. The economically poor, the spiritually poor, the oppressed, the ones suffering injustice, the ones walking in darkness, the ones who need freedom, be a jubilee bringer.
Exploring faith? You can still join in our latest daytime Alpha course. You could also check out the book by John Ortberg called “Who is this Man” or the downloadable videos.
Looking to Connect to God in the everyday? Check out the Fruitfulness on the Frontline series talks available on our website.
Looking to partner with God and his church? Join with our Action events, our local community initiatives e.g. Embrace and Early Intervention, support our link partners overseas, young people sign up for our trip to Poland in the autumn or consider taking a Gap year.
Wanting to step up and lead? Pick a cause, extend an invitation.
Jesus changed the world beyond recognition, you may say well that was him, he was the son of God and that’s true, I believe that. But we don’t have to be the son of God to change the world, we just have to follow in his footsteps.
Questions for Reflection
Do you believe that one person can change the world? Do you believe you can change the world? How?
Why do you think Jesus went back to his home region to speak these really significant words at the start of his public ministry?
Why do you think Jesus chose that particular section from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to read out?
When you read it what resonates with you?
Do you agree that Jesus was speaking about two different types of poverty? What does that mean?
- What are you next steps when it comes to humbly serving the poor?