The Great Opportunity

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And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. [Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found
the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:17-19


In 1825, Robert Owen bought an entire city called Harmony in the southwest corner of Indiana, and renamed it New Harmony. Owen’s goal was to build a new city that would be a perfect utopia where justice and peace would reign, there would be no poor, and no one would be oppressed. He was a Welsh businessman who observed the harsh living conditions of mill workers firsthand. He concluded that the only way to bring about the drastic reformation society needed was building a city from scratch.

Owen laid out the laws of the city that he believed would ensure a peaceful and well-ordered society. In the spring of 1825, people began moving to the city, and close to 1,000 people took up residence in the span of a few months. However, by 1827, only two years later, Owen was forced to admit his city was a failure, and he returned to Europe.

It is quite understandable why people dream of a new society. Even personally, we want a future with more things that bring us joy and less things that cause us anxiety. We know the current world is not what it should be. There is poverty, oppression, and neglect. Human trafficking, sexual abuse, and the misuse of authority are daily headlines. Something within us abhors these injustices. God abhors them as well.

Jesus came into the world with good news: he has come to set things right. Jesus has come to set people free, give them sight, and pour out God’s goodness on them. As you read Jesus’ application to himself of the words first penned by Isaiah, think about what it means:

It means God is familiar with all that is wrong with the world. He is not a God who is so far removed from the world that he is unaware of what is wrong. He sees and sympathizes with people who are suffering from their own sin and the sin of others.

It means Christ has the power to bring an end to our sin and its consequences. It is one thing for God to be aware of what is wrong and another to be able to undo it. Christ proclaims that he has the power to cancel sin, slavery, and suffering – that he is God.

It means Christ has come to rescue sinners and pour out God’s goodness on them. Jesus delivers the poor and oppressed, and the righteousness of God flourishes wherever he is. Jesus comes so the world can experience God’s goodness.

Jesus didn’t come to secure our vision of the good life. Jesus came to introduce us to a good life we were not envisioning, a life of freedom and understanding. Instead of centering our lives on pleasure and material prosperity, Jesus says the good life is living in fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Christ’s call to the first disciples was “follow me.” His call is to leave behind our efforts to build the American dream and to seek first his kingdom.

God is not interested in being part of our New Harmony. He calls us to leave our personal vision of utopia and center our thoughts and lives on his kingdom and its priorities. In his kingdom, the guilt of sin is cancelled, we are liberated from our vain selfishness and turned to God and others. And we gain a sure hope for the end of suffering at his right hand, where there are pleasures forevermore.

The good life means believing in the good news of Jesus. Because of God’s Son, God welcomes us into his family and promises to treat us as his children for all eternity. As his children, we take on the characteristics of our Father. We seek after righteousness and counter injustice. We walk with those who suffer. Instead of frantically consuming, we give. The good life is not found in our net worth or next vacation. Rather, the good life is found in Christ and his kingdom.


1. Jesus came to free you. What do you need freedom from today? Name those things. Be specific and ask Christ to liberate you.
2. Jesus came to set things right. Who around you is experiencing suffering, poverty, or injustice? As Christ’s agent, think of things you can do within your power to help set things right whether it is as simple as making a meal or connecting them with the deacons at your church for financial assistance. Consider who God has brought into your life and the ways you can be Christ’s agent of reconciliation.


Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ! You are risen from the dead and rule at the Father’s right hand. May your kingdom come and your will be done because you bring freedom and forgiveness. Increase my faith to believe in your victorious life, death, and resurrection. Enable me today to obey you and honor you as King!

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