The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…
A doctrine with which the hearts of men are universally in sympathy. Men want the restrictions and limitations around them to be destroyed. It is not merely the few who are actually in dungeons that want it. Thousands are in dungeons, around whom no stone wall is reared. Men in general have a consciousness of being prisoners, without actually being under military rule and ward. Men are bearing bonds, and are bruised, who are not in the actual relation of service; the consciousness of circumscription, of limitation, and of suffering under various forms of bondage, is universal.
1. The first blow which Christ strikes for the enlargement of men's liberty wears the appearance of the opposite; it is at the tyranny of sense and sensuousness in the individual. Man cannot run away from himself. Christ emancipates him from this bondage by introducing him into the higher course of nature; into that sphere in which, in his relations to God, he is acted upon precisely as in a family children are acted upon by the living presence and power of a good father and mother. Then the Divine influence becomes more active in him than the flesh, and he achieves a victory over himself — the nobler nature having gained ascendancy over the lower.
2. Christ delivers us from our bondage to secular conditions. The light and life that we receive by faith make us superior to our circumstances, so that we can maintain our manhood, not only in spite of adverse surroundings, but even by reason of them; working out through adversity and trouble what men in prosperity and joy fail to find.
3. Christ is an Emancipator in another way also. There is a power given to men through faith in Him, to set themselves free from the great source of those cares, infirmities, and annoyances which chiefly afflict life. If pride be essential to a noble character-and it is; if the love of praise be one of the civilizing elements — and it is; if both of these influences conjoined under right directions and inspirations tend to ennoble, to soften, to sweeten, and to beautify human nature — and they do: on the other hand, pride and vanity in their corrupt forms tend to bring upon men in the most acute ways many sufferings which afflict them — for our troubles are mainly of our own making. He who is nervously sensitive to praise is in great distress when he fears the withdrawal of praise or popularity. He who has an intense consciousness of his own excellence and desert is continually harried and annoyed and irritated by a lack of that respect and appreciation of which he has himself so supreme a sense. All the world are over-proud, or over-vain, or both; but he who has subdued his pride, and, by the love of God shed abroad in his heart, has turned it to higher and nobler uses; he who, lacking nothing of sensibility to praise, yet believes in the presence of God, wants praise only for supernal things, and disdains the offering of praise for things meagre and mean and low and vile; because he sets his standard, not according to the current ideas of human society, and not according to the ways of men who are unillumined, but according to that higher and nobler manhood which was revealed in Jesus Christ — he is emancipated from this universal bondage.
4. Christ emancipates from the bondage which comes through ignorance and superstition. It is for men to choose whether they will govern themselves or be governed. It must be one or the other.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
WEB: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,