Words of Jesus: 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 proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.—Luke 4:18-19
Jesus Publicly Reveals Himself as Prophecy Fulfilled
Before Jesus officially began His earthly ministry, He spent forty days and forty nights fasting and praying in the desert. He was there tempted by the devil. Through four temptations, Jesus defeated satan with the same Word of God we have today. Four times, He said, “It is written; it is written; it is written; it is written . . . .” (See Luke 4:4, 8, 10 and 12). After defeating the devil, Jesus began His earthly ministry by going to the synagogues to preach, beginning in his hometown of Nazareth.
This particular Sabbath day in the synagogue, the attendant gave Jesus the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling it, Jesus found Chapter 61, verses 1-2, and read to the people, “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 proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In these verses, Jesus publicly revealed Himself as fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, and that His purpose in coming to earth was to preach salvation, to proclaim freedom, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the Year of Jubilee. In other words, Jesus announced He was Jehovah-Rapha in the flesh—coming to save, heal and restore. Peter tells us “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness: by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
By His stripes, we were healed over two thousand years ago. Jesus healed us in all four areas of our lives on that cross. This is a continual process of healing we need to receive throughout our lifetime. The subject of healing, as a continual process, is one we need to look at with a balanced mind. This means, not only in the manner of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional soundness, but in the cause of the problem, who initiated the healing, what will the result be and why.
From the story of Job, we learn sin is not always the problem or reason for the disease or illness, but to deepen our faith, to see Him more clearly—with our heart, not just our head.
When Jesus came on the scene, He taught His disciples in a balanced way with the miracles He performed. He saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” (John 9:2).
“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life’” (John 9:3). The whole purpose for this blindness was so God would get the glory through this man’s life, at this very moment in time—for all time.
Jesus shows us that we are being sifted as wheat
Again, Jesus teaches us, as Jehovah-Rapha, in dealing with Peter. When Jesus warned Peter he would deny him three times, Peter vehemently denied he would, “‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death’” (Luke 22:33).
Jesus answered, “‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me’” (Luke 22:34).
Jesus’ words proved true. During Jesus’ arrest and trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus and being one of His disciples. As with most all the miracles Jesus performed, He initiated the healing. After rising from the grave and appearing to the disciples, Jesus singled out Peter and asked him three times, “‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’” (John 21:15). Three times, Peter replied the same, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
The repetition of three times to speak his love for the Lord, cancelled out the three denials, and with the repetition, the Lord’s forgiveness and restoration settled from Peter’s head to his heart. Peter must have remembered other words Jesus spoke to him when saying his name three times, “‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’” (Luke 22:31-32).
With Peter’s restoration, Jesus gave him his life’s assignment. His exact words were:
“Feed my lambs” (John 21:15); “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16); “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17); “Follow me!” (John 21:19). This healing and reinstatement process defined Peter’s life purpose, with a view of his future—he glorified God throughout the rest of his life until his own crucifixion.
We will go through the same sifting process as Peter if we follow Jesus. Without the sifting, we would never learn the B-E-A-R Facts of Faith; we would never learn to truly love our Lord who heals us. When we begin to understand that satan was created by God to be used by Him to help refine us, it is easier to weather the trial. And why? So we will learn that satan will surrender to us when we know who we are, and use God’s Word, our sword, against him. It is the only way we learn that “no weapon forged against us will prevail” (Isa. 54:17).
Through the sifting process, the people we will learn about next grew to love Jehovah-Rapha more: