Jesus & Justice For All #3: Stump Speech

Jesus stood before the temple crowd and announced he was the Messiah, the king, they’d long waited for. And outlined his platform.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

– Luke 4:18-19

He was reading from the scroll of Isaiah, the Jewish author Christ quoted more than any other.

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,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor

– Isaiah 61:1,2

During his three year ministry, Jesus quoted Isaiah at least 17 times. 14 of the passages he recited deal with “justice” – a broad category of themes having to do with God’s deliverance.

Justice matters, not only because it is the “grand symptom” of a right relationship with God, but because it mattered to Jesus.

A study of all the Isaiah passages Jesus referenced and all the gospels tell us about his life and teaching, helps theologians define “justice.”* Justice is God’s deliverance.

  • Deliverance of the poor into enough.
  • Deliverance of the oppressed into freedom.
  • Deliverance of the abused into equality.
  • Deliverance of the outcast into community.
  • *There is another kind of “justice” in scripture: God’s punishment of the wicked. But that’s not the “justice” this series is about. It will be touched on briefly though.