A riddle for all you thinkers out there!
I last wrote about experiencing God so that you can know His character – to test Him in all the varied happenings of life to know all the different ways that His goodness, benevolence, kindness, mercy and graciousness are expressed. Today I want you to explore who He says He is. I'm going to pose you a riddle hidden in the Bible.
Jesus defined just who He was when He went to a synagogue in Nazareth (where He had been brought up) and opened the scroll to read aloud:
“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 favour has come.” (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus had quoted from the Greek version of the Old Testament book of Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2). Isaiah had told the deeply afflicted and miserable people of Israel (who were held captive in Babylon) that they would be released and sent back to Israel to have a wonderful future.
Jesus had followed His reading of Isaiah with the comment: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”(v21).
In other words, Jesus was saying He was the one who would deliver people who were deeply afflicted by the circumstances of life or by an awareness of their own sinfulness –the people who were held prisoner by events outside of themselves or by their own minds.
What I have never heard anybody say or write, is that those words of Jesus were a definition of the love and mercy of God. If I had to write the meaning of God’s love and put it in experiential terms, this is the very text that I would choose. It’s also the way a psalmist, expressed the lovingkindness and mercy of God.
I wonder if you know which Psalm I am referring to that elaborates on the mission statement of Jesus recorded in Luke? The psalm that helps us to understand the vast expanse of the lovingkindness of God?
I’ll give you one hint –there are 54 Psalms that 127 times refer to the love and faithfulness of God (the Hebrew word “chesed”).
My next blog will give you the answer!
All quotations are from the NLT.