After their return from captivity, the Israelites did not get immediate rest. The oppression that was meted on them led them to hope for the promised Messiah who when He came fulfilled the Messianic hope. In the book of Luke4:18, Christ Himself proclaims that He is the one by quoting from the prophesy of Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". Today, as before, this Scripture is fulfilled and reminds us that Christmas without Jesus Christ ceases to be anything.
Jesus Christ came for purposes of proclamation of the Gospel. It was through this role that He sought the lost even proclaiming in Mathew 18:14, 'In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost'. Therefore the very essence of Christmas is salvation because Christ came to release us from captivity that is instigated by satan and bring us into His illuminating light. He came to give us life; John 5:24 reads, 'I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned ; he has crossed over from death to life'. However, how sad it is that many people are living in hopelessness not knowing that if they turned to Jesus Christ, who is our Messianic hope, they would be saved.
Christ also came that we could access His comfort and be consoled; for He is Emmanuel, God with us. Sometimes we are caught up in feelings of utter hopelessness because the circumstances that surround us are deemed to be overwhelming. Like Elijah in 1Kings 19:1-9 we may just want to lie down and give up. Although saved we wonder about our salvation and like John the Baptist, who sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus if He was really the Messiah, we too doubt if He is able to deliver us from our predicaments. But God is not yet through with us and the crushing negative feelings are from the enemy who delights in bringing our spirits down. Christ came to give us rest and to sympathize with us when things are hard on us. Hebrews 4:14 assures us that we have a High Priest in Christ who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He was tempted in every way but was without sin. Christmas is therefore a time to think about these attributes of our Lord and be renewed in strength. There is absolutely no peace, no comfort and no joy except that which is from Christ for He will never leave nor abandon us.
Our Savior came for healing and deliverance, to set the captives free and break the chains of bondage that the enemy had put around us; He came to deliver us from the evil one. In John 10:10 he reiterates about His intentions versus the devil's, 'The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.' Christ is a healer today as ever before. In the healing of the blind Bartemius, the woman with the issue of blood, the ten lepers, the paralytics, the deaf, the mute or the demon possessed, we see His might and are comforted that He was still is and is to come. He is able to do now what He did then.
Christ came to give us eternal freedom. This is what He referred to as the year of the Lord's favor or what we call the year of Jubilee which is mentioned in Leviticus 25:13 when everyone was to return his property to the rightful owner. God calls on us to access Him through His Son in this time because the real Jubilee is in Jesus Christ Himself.
The Messianic hope brings to us a restoration of our former image as God created and intended. Our hope is not in wealth or property but rather in the Son Jesus Christ because He came for those who were in need of a doctor- the lonely, the voiceless, the sinners, the restless, the bound, the sick, the ostracized, the despised and all those in need of peace in their lives. He is our most trusted friend. And He promises us in John 7:38 that if we believe in Him, streams of water will flow from within us. He is our hope, He is our Messiah.
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May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.