Good News to the Poor

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

Isaiah 61:1

When I Googled “good news to the poor,” I did not find many images that actually included the poor. This made me wonder if much of the time, we privileged filter out the word poor and shape “good news” to mean that which is good news to us, excluding the poor.

Isaiah said, “To the poor…” and Jesus quoted Isaiah when in the synagogue of Capernaum and said, “This is fulfilled today.” Luke 4:18. Clearly, Jesus did not have in mind some generic, safe, insipid sense of “good news.” He, rather, was using the word in an earth-shaking, inflammatory sense of good news. So good that the crowd in Capernaum got the drift of Jesus’ words and intended to throw him off a cliff.

Imagine that! “Good news to the poor” became a word of offense to the empowered and privileged in Capernaum. In other words, if the word we speak is not attractive and hopeful to the poor and disenfranchised, then it is not “good” in Jesus’ sense of the term.

If every person, every state, and every organization embraced “good news” in the way that Jesus intended it to be understood, what would happen? How would state and national budgets be formulated. What would Wall Street do with it? How would organizations write their mission statements?

I’m pretty sure that we wealthy and privileged would not like Jesus’ “good news” being preached in our back yards. It would be disruptive in the way it was in Capernaum when people tried to kill Jesus. Imagine that!

Something to think about: If you gave in to it, how would the “good news to the poor” that Jesus preached, affect your own personal world?

Something to pray about: O God, we acknowledge that we are not generous in the way that Jesus calls us to be. We are too rich, too consumed by our own interests, and too judgmental about the plight of others not as privileged as we are. So, we ask you to help us see as Jesus did. Help us to be more generous, willing to share what we have with others. In Jesus name we pray this, Amen.

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