A message for the poor and for everyone else
Jesus came to deliver us from evil. When He left, He instructed the Apostles to spread His message everywhere. And today every single Christian has been sent by Jesus to testify of His love.
This fellow came into the synagogue whom everyone had known since he was a little boy. His father was a simple carpenter. He stood up to read the lesson and was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He found the passage where it speaks about one who has been sent to proclaim freedom to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind. And suddenly He claimed to be the one sent by God. At first the people were excited, but then their excitement turned to wrath. “He can’t be the one sent by God. How can that be? We saw Him grow up.” They were so furious that they planned to kill Him. But God prevented that. Fortunately, because this fellow was Jesus Christ. He brought the message that He was one who had come to bring the good news to the poor, the afflicted, the imprisoned, and the blind.
It was this Bible story that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider brought to the brothers and sisters in Paris, France, and the connected congregations on 17 October 2021. He based his sermon on Luke 4: 21–22: “And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’”
Jesus the Saviour
Jesus came for the poor, the neglected, the lowly, the humble. Why? “Because God wants to deliver people from the grip of sin”, explained the Chief Apostle, “because He wants to deliver people from the suffering of the evil caused by sin, by overcoming death and delivering people and leading them into fellowship with Himself.” So Jesus was especially close to those who suffered the most from the consequences of sin.
Jesus had not come to revolutionise society. “He came to deliver mankind from sin,” the Chief Apostle explained. And Jesus did this without a lot of human intervention. People only had to meet a few conditions in order to be saved: they had to be humble, they had to be aware that they were trapped in sin, and they had to suffer from the fact of being separated from God. It certainly did not sound complicated, but for many it was. “His message was not accepted, the messenger was not accepted,” the Chief Apostle recounted. But Jesus did not stop there. He refused to give up on mankind.
The Apostles sent by God
“Jesus went back to His Father, and what did He do? He sent His Apostles. His Apostles, equipped with the Holy Spirit, were sent out to proclaim exactly the same message,” the Chief Apostle said. The mission of the apostolate was exactly the same, namely to proclaim the good news. Today, this word is fulfilled in His church. Christ wants to deliver the poor, the sinners, the oppressed, the sick, and the broken-hearted. Jesus is here to bring you salvation. And this is the message that the Apostles, sent by the Lord Jesus, deliver today.”
Through the Apostles, Jesus addresses everyone, but especially those who suffer the consequences of sin. However, the Chief Apostle also made it clear: “Even today, in order to be saved, it is not necessary to be unhappy, to be poor, or to be disadvantaged. The message of the Apostles is addressed to all: to the sick and the healthy, to the poor and the rich, to the young and the old, to men and women and children.” To receive the message of the Apostles, one must meet the same conditions as in Jesus’ time: one must have the same heart’s disposition and be humble, recognise one’s dependence on God, and want to be close to Him.
… and we
Sent by God, the Lord came to announce this message. The Apostles have been sent by Jesus to proclaim this message. But that is not everything, the Chief Apostle added. “The church, you and I, have been sent by God. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the same message,” he said. “Every child of God is anointed with the Holy Spirit and has been sent into this world by God to pass on this same message.” In concrete terms, this means making the love of Jesus tangible to others through our actions and conduct. “In the church, the broken-hearted are comforted. In the church, the unfortunate and disadvantaged are not ignored; they are helped. Those who weep are comforted, those who are weak are comforted,” the Chief Apostle urged.
One thing is particularly important to the Chief Apostle: forgiveness. “Let’s put an end to these quarrels, these sensitivities, these feuds that have been going on for years,” he implored the brothers and sisters, asking them to reconcile with one another.