We were all excited! Driving down to Ft. Lauderdale early in the morning, anticipating our cruise was making us all punchy! We pulled into the parking lot and were directed to a spot towards the back, when we saw them. Monkeys! Two adult monkey’s and a baby were sitting there looking at us. At this point there is no way that I am getting out of the car. Monkeys scare me. Then we noticed that there were several more and they are encircling us. Visions of “Planet of the Apes” are flooding into my brain. As we make our escape into the shuttle, we find out the story of the monkeys.
Several years ago, the monkeys (African Vervet) were at a research foundation that used them in a breeding facility, and a tourist attraction that was open to the public. The story told to me by the shuttle driver was that a fire occurred at the tourist attraction and the monkey’s escaped into the mangroves around them. I’m still having flashbacks of “Planet of the Apes”! Many years later, here they are thriving in those same mangroves.
My eyes teared up as I heard the story about those monkeys. Their escape to freedom reminded me of Psalm 124:7, “Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped.” I couldn’t help but think of that moment when they made the decision to escape from their captivity to their freedom. The fear that they felt as the fire surrounded them, and that moment when you have no other option but, the one that creates a new life.
When we accept Yeshua as our Messiah we are given a new life in Him, and that new life is one of a free person and not of a captive. In Luke 4:18-19 Yeshua reads prophetic verses (Isaiah 61:1-2, Isaiah 42:7) to those in the synagogue which tells us what His purpose is, “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; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” As we study these verses we will be looking at the Hebrew and the Greek to dig down deep at what the Lord is trying to show us. First of all, “the gospel” in the Greek is “eugangelisasthai” meaning “good news” and in the Hebrew it is “basar”, meaning “to bear tidings”. So, He is bringing us good news that we should pay attention to because it will be beneficial to us. Also, the Lord didn’t come just for the financially poor, He came for the poor in spirit. In Isaiah 61:1, the word for afflicted is “anav” which means, poor, afflicted, humble, and meek. So whether you are rich or poor, we all have a spiritual poverty that He has been anointed to attend to. There are five points, in these two verses that are declarations that Yeshua is making of Himself, let’s take a look at them:
- Healing- He was sent to heal us from our spiritual poverty. In the Hebrew this verse is so powerful, “to heal” is “chabash”, to bind, to bind up. The word “brokenhearted” is “shabar” meaning to break, break in pieces, crushed, shattered, bruised, fractured, and disconnected. Our Messiah came to bind us up, to bandage us up so that we can be whole and no longer broken in pieces.
- Liberty- He offers us a release from the place of captivity that we are in to a place of liberty. Liberty in the Greek is “aphesis” which means dismissal, release, and pardon. Captive in the Greek is “aichmalotos” and it’s defined as a captive/conquered in war and the word derives from “aichme” a spear. So, in this spiritual war that we are in we have been taken captive violently and our Messiah brings offers of release, liberty and pardon!
- Recovery- When you are blind, there is not usually anything that can be done to heal you. You are in a situation where there is no solution. In our spiritual poverty where we are disconnected from God and do not have a path to Him, God provides the path. God provides the way to recover from our sickness of independence from Him to restoration where we can see Him and His glory.
- Oppressed- We don’t think of ourselves as oppressed. The idea of oppression is that someone exercises control over you and uses their power over you. But, when we look at this word in the Greek it is “thrauo”, meaning to break in pieces which reminds us of the word for brokenhearted which we discussed earlier. So, being oppressed actually means to be broken, crushed, and bruised. Aren’t we all in this position? Earlier in our second point the Lord says in v.18 that He has come “to proclaim” liberty now He says “To set at liberty”. He is not just proclaiming but actually giving us the liberty that He has proclaimed to us.
- Acceptable year- When Yeshua states this He is declaring a very important point. He is referring to Leviticus 25 and the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is celebrated every fifteen years, and has certain regulations such as: all slaves are to be set free, all debts are forgiven, land was allowed to rest, and it was a fresh beginning. This is what He has come to give us! We are no longer slaves but are set free. Our debts (sins) are forgiven, we are given rest in Him and we have a new life that He provides us!
Those monkeys we talked about in the beginning left their captivity and started a new life in those mangroves. Generations later we see them flourishing in their freedom and their offspring not even knowing about captivity! As we approach Passover let’s accept Messiah’s offer for freedom from captivity and live as free men!