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Jesus issues the Freedom Declaration
The Bible story that sets the tone for Freedom Season

Jesus is usually thought of as a religious teacher, but people often overlook the fact that his "teaching" was mostly about the kingdom he ruled and the freedom campaign he was spearheading.

In the Bible story below, which happened before Jesus was well known, he is taking his turn as the speaker in his hometown synagogue. He read an ancient prophecy about freedom, but he didn't explain it or urge people to obey it like synagogue speakers were expected to do. Instead he shocked them by saying what no synagogue speaker ever said about a prophecy, "It came true just now in this place." 

That is not an explanation. It is a declaration of a new state of affairs. Those are the words of a king and a campaigner, not a teacher. 
Teachers present analyses, explanations, and arguments for views they are trying to promote. They discuss what other experts have said. They aim to convince and persuade, but they don't just "declare" a new state of affairs and expect people to believe them.

Luke 4 gives us the original story of the Freedom Declaration, the centerpiece of all Jesus' "teaching." Everything else in his three years or so as a traveling teacher was based on this declaration, and, as we will see, it eventually got him killed. 

We don't understand a thing about Jesus if we don't understand how important the Freedom Declaration was to him. Here it is.

Jesus issues the Freedom Declaration in his home town

Luke 4.14-21 The Message


14-15 Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone’s acclaim and pleasure.

16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God’s Spirit is on me;
   he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
   recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
   to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”

Jesus issues the Freedom Declaration in his home town

Luke 4.14-21
(same story as above, but in the New Living Translation)


14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
   that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

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