“Jesus the Liberator”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. — Luke 4:18
Who is this Jesus that we follow to the cross? He was a healer to the sick. He was a friend to the friendless. He was also a liberator and a protestor, speaking out against oppression and corruption.
Not everyone, however, embraces Jesus the liberator and protestor. In Luke 4, as Jesus continued to teach about healing and liberation, people became furious. A mob formed in an attempt to drive him out of town.
As followers of Christ, Jesus entrusts us to continue his mission. We are called to be truth-tellers who not only proclaim the gospel, but also live out the gospel in our daily lives. We are called to speak out against oppressive systems that were built to abuse, oppress and marginalize.
As we continue to speak up, there will be people who are not pleased. Just as they did with Jesus, people will rise up against us. However, just as Jesus continued to speak out, so shall we.
The Lenten path we trod is not an easy one. It leads to the cross of crucifixion where the world thought it finally silenced Jesus. But like Jesus, we put our faith in God, knowing that hope reigns beyond the cross. The work of liberation will not stop.
Jesus knew the teachings of the prophets and turned to those lessons often as he modeled for others what a life filled with shalom could look like. We are not only to hear about the work of justice, but we are also to do that work. And we are not only called to seek justice from others, but we must also behave justly ourselves.
Jesus calls us to look within ourselves, our organizations and our communities to make sure we are behaving justly. If we discover injustice within our lives and communities, we must have enough humility to acknowledge our missteps and correct our mistakes. We must also have the kindness to apologize and ask forgiveness for our mistakes. We cannot only expect others to change. We must also be the change we want to see.
Lord, please give me the strength and humility to look for injustices within myself. Give me the courage to acknowledge my mistakes and give me the strength to change. In Christ’s name, I pray. Lord, help us prepare for the shift that is necessary in our society. Help us to accept what needs to change with grace and love. Amen.