Luke 21:34-36; 4:18-19
Purpose – To proclaim the purpose of the second coming of Jesus, why Jesus stopped with, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…”.
In this message I want us to remember the words of Jesus when He appeared in the synagogue, read from Isaiah 61:1 & 2, but stopped short from finishing the text. Where there were probably many Jewish people expecting a king to come, deliver them from Rome, and set them free; they were not expecting a healer, Lord and Savior.
The proclamation of Isaiah states;
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)
You can see by these verses that Jesus never read the whole statement. Was there an error in His reading by stopping short? He stopped at the phrase, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” and never continued with, and the day of vengeance of our God…” and the following words of promise. So what do we do with this seeming conflict? Realize there is no conflict, but rather a prophetic word of urgency.
It is as though Jesus was saying, “I am here now to do these things. When I come again the other, that not yet done, will be done.”
THE MINISTRY OF JESUS AT HIS FIRST COMING (Luke 4:18-19). We are told by Scripture that Jesus came to do the will of God. He said, “Know you not that I must be about My Father’s business” and He also said, “I am come to seek and to save the lost.” His purpose was not to heal the sick, raise the dead; that was His ministry, but not His purpose for becoming man.
He did not come to be served, but to serve, He said, “and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). We are told that near the end of His ministry on earth He had His “face was as though He would go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). As you read the gospels Jesus spent His life doing what would please the Father, and accomplish His will, and glory.
In Jesus’s work and ministry He declared this is the time for salvation, “…The acceptable year of the LORD”. The apostle Paul wrote, “…now is the day of salvation”(2 Corinthians 6:2).
JESUS WARNS OF A TIME OF SPIRITUAL LAXNESS, DARKNESS, AND WORRIES OF LIFE (v. 34; 1 Timothy 4:1-4). Can we as people get caught up in our everyday business, life, life pursuits, ballgames, vacations, etc., and not give a care about our spiritual well being?
YES! We can. It is often so easy to get engulfed, overwhelmed and busied by life that spending time with God, living for Him by Biblical living, and sharing the gospel is never on our mind. There may be more to Jesus’s words than just those things though. The word “surfeiting” expresses along with the word “overcharged” over doing the food and drink; making gluttons and drunkards of one’s self. The party atmosphere is not the best atmosphere. It may be fun, and it may be exciting, but what happens after it is over? If there is overeating, gluttonous eating, then there may be sickness, pain, misery. If the over indulgence is with drink, and it is alcoholic then there won’t be a whole lot of difference.
Jesus is warning of spiritual darkness that can creep in silently, and take hold of your life, when you least expect it. I wonder if the apostle Paul did not have Jesus’s words here in mind when he wrote,
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 (KJV)
Jesus would not want His followers to be in darkness. He gives us a warning to stay alert at all times, no matter how good or bad the economy, or our health may be. Jesus also warned of the times being similar to the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39). People simply going about their daily lives, with thier problems, business, and life in particular, as though everything would go on as it is.
THE WHOLE EARTH ENSNARED; NO ONE LEFT UNTOUCHED BY THIS EVIL (v. 35; Revelation 3:10; 11:10; 13:8 ). This verse reminds me of these three verses in the Revelation of our Lord which say, “(Them, They, or All)that dwell upon the earth”, and Jesus is giving all plenty of warning of a time coming on earth where the “whole earth” will be ensnared in unrighteous, debauchery, loose living, drunkenness, and gluttonous acts.
“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10 (KJV)
“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” Revelation 11:10 (KJV)
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 (KJV)
Let it be understood that we are all visitors on this earth; meaning by that that we are all only here for a short time. Some of us have realized that there is another and better place “far away” for which we can go when we are prepared. We make our home here, see it as only temporary, and live our lives for the One who has sent His Son to redeem us from all our sin.
It seems very real to me, that Jesus is telling all who heard Him speak the words, and all who would read these words in years to come, that only those whose hearts are dwelling on earth, making this a permanent home, are the one’s who will be ensnared. Trapped by the lies of a deceptive leader who would lead all who follow him to destruction, and eternity in the fire.
BEFORE IT COMES BE SURE YOU ARE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE THESE THINGS AND STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN (v. 36). Jesus’s words “Watch… and pray always”, and then, “…that ye may be accounted worthy of to escape all these things…” implies what I have said above. There is a way of escaping the traps of what is coming on this world, and that is that we “May be accounted worthy of escape”.
How is one counted worthy of escape? Is it with good labors? Good works? The right ritual worship? The right baptism? NO! It is nothing according to the flesh of men that makes one worthy to stand in the presence of the Son of Man, and accounted by Him fully worthy. This is the work of God alone.
The Word of God tells us plainly:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)
No one can be accounted worthy to stand fully righteous and worthy, except by the cross of Jesus Christ; that is His death, His burial and His bodily resurrection from the dead. He the perfect, sinless, Son of God gave Himself, a sacrifice, that those who would trust in Him might be saved. Through His sacrifice we are accounted as worthy. Accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass.
The reason for our need to “Watch… and pray” is so that it does not come on us suddenly and we are caught unaware of His taking us out. This is our means of discerning the times and the seasons of men. We, as Christians, ought always be looking for the appearing of our Savior, and listening for His shout.
AT THE APPEARING OF JESUS; HIS JUDGMENT; AND FOLLOWING (Isaiah 61:2-3ff). When Jesus stood in the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61, and stopped reading at the verse ending with “…the acceptable year of the LORD”, and closed the book He was saying that time had come, the rest would come later. His first coming was not as the religious leaders had expected, and they refused to accept Jesus because of that they tried to kill Him, then, by throwing Him over a cliff (Luke 4:28-30).
When you continue reading in Isaiah 61 you find;
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)
“The day of vengeance of our God”, and Jesus never came in His incarnation to bring the wrath and judgment of God on sin. He came to be the instrument of receiving the wrath and judgment of God for sin. He took the wrath that was ours upon Himself, that mankind might have a path, a bridge, a “narrow way” before the very throne, and the very face of God.
If you will take note of verse 3 above, when He comes again to earth, it will be to comfort those who mourn, giving them “beauty for ashes,… oil of joy for mourning,… garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” His coming again will be to establish the kingdom on earth, and to restore Israel, fulfilling all His promises to them.
Watch and pray that you may be accounted worthy to escape the wrath that is coming upon all who dwell upon the earth.
-Tim A. Blankenship