In a speech given during the commencement of a newly formed missions agency, my friend—who heads up the ministry—spoke of its mission and vision. He also gave everyone a clear picture of its goals and plans.

Similarly, at the start of His public ministry, our Lord Jesus gave an “inaugural message” in a synagogue in His hometown. He deliberately directed everyone’s attention to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning God’s Anointed One (Luke 4:16-20).

Nearly 700 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had spoken of the mission of the Messiah: “The LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor . . . to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed . . . to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come” (Isaiah 61:1-2). Isaiah 61 celebrates God’s grace in delivering the Jews from the Babylonian bondage, and proclaims God’s glory in restoring and blessing the Jews after their exile.

After reading this Scripture, Jesus publicly announced that He was the Messiah who had come: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:21). Jesus laid out His mission (Luke 4:18-19). He declared that God had sent Him to rescue us (Matthew 1:21), to heal all who are broken by sin (Psalms 34:18, 147:3), to set free those captured by Satan and enslaved in sin (John 8:32-36; Romans 6:6-8), and to restore and bless us (Ephesians 1:3).

Christmas is a reminder that “the time of the LORD’s favor has come” (Luke 4:19). And the apostle Paul reminds us not to reject “this marvelous gift of God’s kindness. . . . Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 John 1:1-10