Following the preaching of John the Baptist which is a call to repent, Jesus begins his ministry with the words of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.”  The Bible passage this week is Luke 4 verses 14 to 30, which is well-worth reading.  The scene is the synagogue in Nazareth, his boyhood home.  No doubt there were aspects of synagogue worship with which Jesus disagreed but, nonetheless, he always went.  When Jesus said these words, the Jewish listeners felt aggrieved in two ways.  First, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah himself and secondly, and more importantly, he was proclaiming God’s blessings on the Gentiles and not the Jews.  Yet I think there is more.  All of us, Jew and Gentile are captives.  We are captive to our weaknesses and temptations which bind and torment us.  We are blind to truth through our ignorance and arrogance.  Finally, we are downtrodden by broken and corrupt economic, political and social structures working across the world.  Yes, John the Baptist is right: we need to repent but after God’s mercy comes God’s grace.  In Christ we are set free, we are released from all forms of bondage and torment; we can see the beautiful truth and we are no longer downtrodden economically or socially for the Lord’s favour has indeed come.