Why do the prophets identify the poor hearing the good news as one of the identifiers for recognizing the Messiah? Does your pastor preach to the poor?
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
The greatest prophet that ever lived was John, the Baptist. He sent to know if Yeshua was the One who was the Messiah or should they wait for another.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Yeshua’s answer is remarkable. He recounts how the blind have their sight restored, the lame have their mobility restored, the lepers have their flesh restored, the deaf have their hearing restored, the dead have their life restored and then, that the poor have the gospel preached to them through His ministry.
How is the preaching of the gospel to the poor in line with the other healings/restorations? What is being restored to the poor in the good news? How is hearing the gospel an answer to what ails the poor? What is the righteous cause of the poor?
Hear the remainder of His answer:
When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written: 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Jesus’ answers to questions are always in context to the kingdom of God. It seems you just can’t get Him off topic. The greatest Prophet shall be least in the kingdom of God. The kingdom that is coming is the place where the last (the experience of the poor) shall be first and the first shall be last. Here, in this life, the poor are always last.
Yeshua’s answer is a kingdom answer. He not only healed all physical ailments, He reverses the playing field for every individual who pursues the kingdom of God and His righteousness, where no stratum of society can lord it over any other. The poor do suffer here. We are commanded to be involved in comforting the poor, are we not?
I think the good news for the poor is that His justice will prevail and answer their righteous cry. Though they have nothing here, they can receive an unbelievably rich inheritance at His coming and be promoted to rule with Him as kings and priests on the earth forever. This is good news to those who have ears to hear.
The rich rules over the poor, ...
Though He restores sight to the blind, He does not restore money to the poor, or lands, or stolen goods. He waits to hand out the true riches to those who also wait and are found faithful and worthy. This is determined at the Refiners’ Fire Judgment, the TEST at the end of the Rapturous ride we long for.
But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
"Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, Because the rod that struck you is broken; For out of the serpent's roots will come forth a viper, And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. The firstborn of the poor will feed, And the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, And it will slay your remnant. Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; For smoke will come from the north, And no one will be alone in his appointed times." What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD has founded Zion, And the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
My point is that our understanding of what the gospel is, and what Jesus exclusively taught, is most important! If we preach only that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins for the purpose of taking us to heaven, end of story, we corrupt the message with a partial gospel, leaving the purpose for our being saved undefined and illusory, open to conjecture and imagination. That’s how fairytales are born and take root because within our core is hardwired the need for “kingdom” and even unconsciously we will fill in the gap with something that sounds good to us. In the most common religious system we have here in America, heaven became the ticket, the carrot (sorry), the bait to get and keep our interest. Then, we have to cast about to find motivational reasons and motivational speakers and Madison Avenue methods of attractive packaging and marketing to keep folks involved in the fairytale and to give money to the cause and to be nice to each other until the end.
There is a problem introduced into the experience of the church when we don’t preach the full gospel, the whole gospel. The full gospel is our deliverance from bondage for the inheriting of the reward; saved from something, for something; brought out that He might bring us in; redeemed from uselessness/aimlessness for eternal purpose, saved from bondage to sin and the flesh for bondage and service to Him.
If only we would preach the full gospel, the “from/to”, the motivation to pursue His kingdom and His righteousness would be built-in and motivate us/our children from within where the Spirit resides. The fear of the LORD, you must have noticed, fixes everything that could ever be wrong with the belief system of any believer at any time for all time. That, of course, would be bad news for the Keepers of the Nursery for they would lose all their clientele.
How are the fear of the LORD and the preaching of the full gospel related?
Every New Testament writer references the Refiner’s Fire Judgment for their exhortations to holiness and being done with sin, expecting us to endure until Jesus is revealed in His kingdom. The Refiner’s Fire Judgment is the fitness exam for Kingdom employment (see parables of Jesus). Yeshua’s whole Sermon on the Mount is a revelation of what is going to be tested for at that event. If only we fathers would teach and discuss this momentous and historic event with our sons and daughters, we would discover, over time, they are learning the fear of the LORD and it won’t be the version we men made up to put in our books on Christian Living and Sunday School class materials :
Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden." Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?" Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, "He did not make me"? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? Is it not yet a very little while Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, And the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel.
Let the Holy Spirit create the Heaven-born, natural, organic fear of the LORD that every son and daughter’s heart needs out of the true gospel story, which would include what affects their worthiness to inherit their reward in the Kingdom determined at the Refiner’s Fire judgment.
That would save us so much grief and trouble. Motivational speakers and religious marketers, however, would have to ply their trade in another market.
Come Yeshua, our King; we wait for You.