Those Who Encounter the Lord
By Rev Arnold Chow
April 16, 2023
The gospel is both “life-changing and re-defining.” Those who encounter Jesus have to personally face Jesus and His gospel. Everyone needs to make a decision. Do you still remember the situation in which you encountered the Lord Jesus and heard His gospel?
As portrayed by Luke, different kinds of people have encountered Jesus: Jews, gentiles, men, women, the rich, the poor, elites, the marginalized, and so forth. And just in their most ordinary, most routine, and most commonplace situations, they encountered Jesus unexpectedly. These encounters are by no means random. Their stories reflect the comprehensiveness of the gospel.
It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus had recited a passage from the Book of Isaiah in His hometown of Nazareth: “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). When He finished reading, He added: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (4:21). Jesus was sent by the Father to go in people’s midst to proclaim the gospel.
In this mission statement of Jesus, we see that in the gospel, there is a particular concern for the poor (those who cannot defend their dignity, are exploited, or for various reasons owe money and are enslaved). The good news therein is that prisoners are set free (debt is canceled or reduced, sickness is cured, sins forgiven) so that those who are blind in the heart or in the eyes can see the grace and love of the Heavenly Kingdom. To the neglected, forsaken, hated, sin-enslaved, or those confused by perverted values or are oppressed by authorities, Jesus brought an unprecedented life-changing opportunity. He brings real freedom to those in the bondage of evil and restores the goodness of God’s creation.
The original meaning of the gospel is good news. But in today’s age in which news is stuffed into your eyes, people do not really look forward to hearing news. Whether you are clicking an online music video or browsing social media, there will be tens of seconds of advertisements cramming onto your screen. These advertisements disguised as good news make us tired. The gospel, on the other hand, is not just a piece of news. It is also works that Jesus can accomplish in you and me.
Today, in our most ordinary, most routine and most commonplace situations, the gospel of Jesus remains good news to all of us whose faith is in the Lord. He also sends us, with the power and authority from Him, to go through all the places to spread the gospel. In the sermons of this quarter, we will study selected passages from the Gospel of Luke. May the Holy Spirit use the Scripture about different people’s encounters with the Lord Jesus to continually change and renew you and me so that we will be more like the Lord Jesus!