Contemplating Jesus


Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

It takes a certain depth of awareness to know oneself: even more to know one’s spiritual inheritance and to recognize one’s destiny.  It takes gumption and risk to re-visit old territory and unfurl this knowledge, as Jesus did with the scroll at the synagogue in Nazareth where he read from Isaiah 61. With confidence in God’s revelation, he was certainly determined to announce not just who he was but what he was about.

From the Hubble Telescope

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release
to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free.”
(Luke 4: 18).

Although shocking to those at the time, in hindsight there’s much to be gleaned from Jesus’ revelation.  First, he announced his anointment, which many had witnessed at his baptism in the Jordan, and from that anointing he made clear the purpose of his ministry, the meaning of his work.  Second, he identified those who are poor (not just materially but spiritually), those who are blind (too not so much literally but figuratively) and those who are captive — pretty well all of us, all of humanity.

In all of Jesus’ healing and much of his teaching he focusses on one central element: the release from the imprisonment of suffering into the loving spheres of liberty.  What he offers is therefore vital for health of mind, soul and body:  freedom is foundational for a full life. In many of the stories of Jesus’ healing he speaks of sins being forgiven before physical health is restored.  He touches the soul first, to infuse grace within, then he touches the body.  He frees the soul from what imprisons it, commonly referred to as sin.   Sin is a term used in archery for missing the mark, the bull’s eye.  The mark, the central point of our souls, takes some practice getting to.  Freedom isn’t something that just arrives one morning: it takes some chipping at the hard stones of our attitudes, thoughts, conditioning and egos.  As if a paradox, the doorway to freedom is through obedience to the call of God and a commitment to God’s will over ours.

A recent television documentary on holiness (Salt & Light Television) shared the idea that  “Your life is not about You.”  Believing this idea can certainly liberate us from the quandaries and questioning that accompany the journey of a soul to its purpose and destiny.  The liberty of letting go of the “shoulds,” the cultural conditioning, the enslavement to the interminable chains of personal desires, imaginings, fears, doubts and shames, can be frightening to a captive soul.  Yet freedom is not a free-fly: it is a direction to God.  And by releasing the false obligations for one’s life, however hard, does, in the end, reveal freedom’s marvellous peace and security.  When inner freedom is allowed space then grace can inform us of who we are and what it is we are to become.


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