Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed..NKJV
Today’s topic will probably not be a feel good topic, but I refuse to ignore it, since it is part of the ministry of Jesus. When Jesus read the list of things that God had anointed Him to do, dealing with oppression was in the list. He said it this way, “to set at liberty those who are oppressed”. Most people don’t even think about oppression, but today, we will take a quick look at what oppression is. First, we will look at natural or physical oppression.
Oppression is real in our society. No matter how much we wish for it to not be so, it is so. Oppression was at the heart of the women’s suffrage movement during the 1800s. Women were tired of being ornaments on their husbands and fathers arms, doormats in their homes, and being kept “barefoot and pregnant”. They wanted to have a real place in society, with a voice, and opportunities.
The Civil Rights movement during the 50s and 60s, was a cry for social just because of the systemic oppression Black people faced on a daily basis. Low paying jobs, segregated schools, stores, communities. Giving honor to whites on the bus, on the sidewalk, in the line. They just wanted the same rights, freedoms, and job opportunities of their white counterparts.
Black Lives Matter, is the millennials cry to unfair treatment of non-whites by police and the justice system. As they watch individuals being murdered on the streets, on video, and it being called justifiable. For them, that is unacceptable!
Many Christians, Black and white, are confused as to how they should view situations and organizations like Black Lives Matter. We are told, by Blacks and Whites alike a variety of things: “If Black Lives Matter, why is there so much Black on Black crime”? I ask you, ” Don’t we have a lot of white on white crime? Surely killing inside of your own race is not just a problem with Blacks?” We are told that if we really care about Black lives, we should care about the Blacks in the ghetto who are being killed in gang violence. I say to that, “If you are really pro-life, you should care also”. Gang violence is a societal issue that is being ignored because it involves Black and Brown individuals, not because it is unsolvable. We most certainly, as a nation, could do more to stomp out gang violence. And we should! But one really does not have anything to do with the other.
A definition of oppression is prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. That is what the Women’s Suffrage movement complained about, the Civil Rights Activist complain about, and what Black Lives Matter complain about. Cruel and unjust treatment or control.
Whenever God’s people, the Israelites, found themselves under oppression, they would call out to God and He would deliver them! Therefore, it’s no surprise that part of Jesus’ ministry would be to set the oppressed free.
When Jesus said:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 – NKJV
He was giving us a key to handling natural oppression. Where we have godly, or agape love for one another, we will have genuine concern for them, their needs, and their well-being. Love isn’t a commodity we throw around to control people, it’s how they will know that we are truly His disciples.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:35 – NKJV
Then there is spiritual oppression that we can experience in life. The Bible refers to this oppression as being demonic. It’s just as cruel in nature, and equally as controlling in the individual’s life, and we must be healed of it. Acts 10:38 states:
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 – NKJV
Can I just say, that I had to look up the difference between oppression and those who are bound by chains? I thought they were one and the same, but the definition for oppression in the Vine’s dictionary gives us a different meaning altogether:
The Greek word “thrauo” means bruise:
“to smite through, shatter,” It is used in Luk 4:18, “them that are bruised,” i.e., broken by calamity.
This oppression, that is brought on by the devil, is what we experience after great calamity and trouble. The loss of a loved one through violence, sudden death from COVID-19, floods, hurricanes…unexpected, inexplicable things that causes us to feel as if we are being shattered by the event that has taken place. In the Young’s Literal translation, Luke 4:18 reads like this:
`The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because He did anoint me; to proclaim good news to the poor, sent me to heal the broken of heart, to proclaim to captives deliverance, and to blind receiving of sight, to send away the bruised with deliverance..Luke 4:18 – YLT
Jesus wants us to come to Him with these bruises, not to run away. He says, He will heal us, send us away delivered and put back together. He is still saying, “Come to Me”.
Isaiah 53 is where we find a powerful verse on healing:
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 – NKJV
But right after that, we have this verse:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 53:7 – NKJV
Jesus understands physical and spiritual oppression. He didn’t avoid any of it, because He wanted us to know that He understood what we were experiencing. Today, if you find yourself bruised, shattered, and hurting over the cruel actions of others or events, know that you are not alone. Jesus has been where you find yourself, and He gets it. And the greater words of encouragement for you are: He can heal you. It is what He was anointed to do! What He is still anointed to do!
Some experiences in life are shattering. I wish it was not so. So does the Father! I promise you He isn’t responsible. He said that the devil is responsible and Jesus is the cure. Trust Him today to put all the pieces back together again in your life. So whether you are experiencing a natural or spiritual oppression at this time, you can experience freedom and healing. The way to that freedom may be different, but if you’ll trust Jesus, you can experience it in the natural and in the spiritual realm. Wonderful Jesus!