42:5 Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
8 I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Ok you've read words written by Isaiah in the 8th century B.C. Now listen to these words spoken by Jesus over 700 years later to His home synagogue in Nazareth:
Luke 4:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
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 broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The words aren't exact because Jesus wasn't reading from this particular chapter. We'll come to the specific verses he read in chapter 61 but already you can see the same message.
Now here is a dilemma. When Jesus was here as one of us He did heal the blind on multiple occasions. He did preach good news to the poor. He did heal the broken-hearted. However did He ever free anyone from prison? The answer is no. He certainly had opportunity. John the Baptist was in prison during that time but Jesus never intervened and ultimately he was killed. Are we to take from this that Jesus failed? Did He not keep all his promises? For the One who called Lazarus from the grave were prison bars too strong? Did He forget? Was it just an oversight?
Ironically after His Ascension prison doors started flying open left and right so why didn't Jesus do it at least once while He was here?
He wanted us to wonder. He wanted this question asked. He left it undone on purpose. He said we would find Him when we search with all our hearts. The truth is that Jesus did free captives from the prison house; the real prison house. The real jailer is Satan and the prison house is sin. We are all captives. Blind to the reality of who and what truly binds us. Blind to our condition. Blind to what and Who we need. Our hearts are broken but we don't understand why or how deeply. All of these promises connected to literal tangible things that we see and know are only symbolic. Yes we are at times literally oppressed. Some of us are literally blind. Some of us are poor. Some of us are in prison. However none of those literal scenarios is what Jesus was truly talking about.
He was talking about heart blindness, the oppression of sin, hearts unable to feel as they should and love as they could. The prison houses of shame, guilt, fear, etc... needed busting open.
He promised He would do it. Look at Mary. She experienced it. So did Peter even though his heart blindness caused the healing to take longer. I know I'm in the same boat as Peter but I am so thankful my Jesus will not fail nor be discouraged. No bruised reed will He break, no smoking flax will He snuff out.
Some day I will see clearly and be as free as a bird. So will you. He promised.