A new year has begun. The feeling is the same year after year. Business as usual.
But to some, it is a time to forget the past, especially the negative experiences, such as sin, which afflicts those with a conscience. The holy Bible speaks to such ones.
Jesus, too, wished to help those with whom he had grown up. As is written in the first chapter of John's gospel, "He came unto his own, but his own received him not." Jesus' visit to his boyhood village attests to this.
His message to them included the preaching of the acceptable year of the Lord. The authority to preach this word was the Holy Spirit. Without this spirit, the word remains without benefit, regardless of the sincerity with which it is declared. Included in his brief message was the preaching of the gospel to the poor. This preaching, accompanied with believing hearts, produces blessedness. This Jesus declared in his sermon on the mount, where he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew. 5:3).
The kingdom of heaven, then, must be where this blessedness is obtained. Jesus had at one occasion stated, "Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Jesus said to "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness ..."
Text: Luke 4:19 The spirit of the Lord is upon Me; Because He hath anointed me to preach the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted; To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
What constitutes this righteousness? It must be acceptance of the gospel of forgiveness. Jesus had breathed the holy spirit upon his disciples (John 20:22, 23). This is the same gospel St. Paul received from Annaias, in these words, "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 9:17).
And this same apostle wrote later to the Romans that he was not ashamed of the gospel, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed (Chapter 1, versus 16 and 17).
The acceptable year, then, is this open and free proclamation. The townspeople in that synagogue where Jesus delivered this word became filled with wrath, and drove him out. But this in no way impeded the declaration of the living gospel.
Wherever there are those who have ears to hear what the spirit sayeth, is a participant in the acceptable year of the Lord.
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