Why He Came
Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he came and set his people free.”
- Luke 1:67-68
Theologians have often remarked on God’s preferential treatment of the poor. That’s because Jesus unambiguously declared the poor blessed and disproportionately spent time with those who were oppressed. Throughout the scriptures, like the one above which we read in service on Sunday, we run into God the Rescuer, God the Redeemer, God the Savior. And as Zechariah’s prayer unfolds, it’s clear he’s not just talking about a personal salvation or being rescued from personal sin. He’s talking about an oppressed nation being delivered from an oppressive nation (reread Luke 1:66-80). And that theme resonates with the rest of scripture from the beginning to the end.
So what do we do that in America in the 21st century, where so many of us have so much privilege? How do we move past denial of these realities and then past the immediate guilt that can fall on us and find a way to join in with what Jesus is doing in the world of the oppressed today? What does it look like to leverage our privilege - whether it’s economic, social, educational, political, racial, etc. - for the sake of those who have been left out? If we don’t start to lean into these questions, Christmas won’t have much meaning besides consuming. “He came to set his people free” is what the prophecy says. So maybe it’s time to use our freedom to do the same.
Pray about these things.