He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. Isaiah 61:2 (NLT)

My son was very upset the night he called. He’d received his driver’s license just weeks earlier. He was on his way to a church youth group party, and missed a ‘speed reduced’ sign. As fate would have it, a policeman was sitting in the darkness. My son received his very first speeding ticket that night. We’d established a rule before his very first trip regarding just such a situation.

Both he and his sister were well aware that if either of them were to receive a ticket in the first year of driving their license would be ‘revoked’ by me for one week. The penalty for a second offense in that first year? Two weeks of revocation. A third offense? Three weeks. You see the pattern.

When my son called that night he tearfully explained the situation and told me he was coming home. My response may have surprised him. I told him something like this: “Why come home? You are there with your friends. Enjoy the night. We all make mistakes. It happens all the time. When you get home, I get your license. But for now put that aside and enjoy your time.” He followed my advice…and I followed my rules.

One day Jesus was teaching in the temple. He opened the scroll to the book of Isaiah and read from what we refer to as chapter 61:1-2. Something interesting happened however. Luke records it for us in Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Did you notice anything different in what Jesus read before he sat down? He stopped just before he read the part about Gods’ judgment. Jesus only read about encouraging the weary and poor. Why did he stop at that point? Because Jesus didn’t come to judge. He’ll take care of that when he returns a second time. His first visit to planet earth was not to condemn but to bring release.

Does that mean Jesus was light on sin? Certainly not. One only has to read the Gospels to see the number of times Jesus said “Go and sin no more.” Jesus’ primary purpose in coming to earth was to encourage those who were weak.

My son learned a valuable lesson about driving 20 years ago. To the best of my knowledge that was his only speeding ticket. However, he also learned that although there is a time for judgment, there is also a time for encouragement.

We are called to comfort the mourning; to encourage the weary; to strengthen the weak while we still have time. The time of judgment is coming. The Father will execute his judgment through the Son. We are called, as was Jesus, to be encouragers.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you showed us that encouraging the weak isn’t a sign of being soft on sin, but an example of grace. Thank you for your gift. Help me to extend that grace to someone who needs it today. Amen.

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