“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.” Luke 4:18b (NIV)
Are we to take this phrase as Jesus speaking words of independence to those men and women behind bars? He could mean this. I believe He means more, His message could focus on emotional, spiritual, and mental freedom, not simply the condition of a person having served his or her time behind physical bars and being released.
Could the Master also call those held in bondage to certain self-destructive habits prisoners? If a person becomes addicted to a substance, he or she has allowed that ‘stuff’ to take them over-physically, mentally and emotionally. It is horrific to see someone attached to things that can take their life.
What about victims of abuse? Wouldn’t we call them prisoners? Friends of mine have a daughter who, in order to function, has to take seizure medication. When the daughter was married, I heard she had a spell every time she and her husband came to visit. After she moved back home, she confessed that she hadn’t been taking her meds. It seemed they needed the money for ‘other things’ but it wasn’t her decision. It was the husband’s. Was my friend’s daughter a prisoner?
Didn’t Jesus came to help them find a better way to live?