God’s Spirit is on me, He has chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!(Luke 4:18-19)

By definition ‘ways and means’ is about the methods and tools we use for doing anything.

“Good ways” are blessed by God and within such ways there is special power to produce, ‘new means.’ This is a new year, and I believe it’s going to be a great year! Especially, if we choose to use, “good ways and new means,” to undertake whatever God has planned for us.

One’s ways and means can lead to either great success or dismal failure. Often people look at problems like racism, injustice, and chronic poverty, and think like Malcolm X thought, in the sixties, that our advancement and social justice should be achieved, “by any means necessary.” I’m not sure that’s true.

The Ways and Means committee of the United States Congress is the oldest committee in Congress. It is the chief tax-writing and the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives.

The ‘Ways and Means’ committee exercises jurisdiction over the nation’s revenue and the related issues like tariffs, trade agreements, and debt of the United States. The nation’s Social Security system, Medicare, and our social services programs all come under ‘Ways and Means.’

In Luke 4:14-20, Jesus returns from the wilderness to Galilee, with “Good ways and new means” to serve His Father. He was more focused and power-filled with the Holy Spirit. News that Jesus was back from the wilderness quickly spread through the countryside. He taught in the Temple, and everyone was amazed.

He went to Nazareth where He had been reared and visited the Temple on the Sabbath. When He stood up to read, He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written, “God’s Spirit is on me; He’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, He sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, and to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act’!” (Luke 4:18-19) MSG

All the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit were upon Him. Through His words, sinners were loosed from their bonds of guilt, and by His Spirit they were freed from spiritual bondage.

Through His gospel He brought light to those in darkness, and gave sight to the blind, as He preached to all that this was a Karious moment, (the Godly moment) the time to act had now arrived.

As sinners, we should take the savior’s invitation seriously when freedom is offered. Jesus’ name is powerful and wonderful but nothing is more powerful than the gospel He taught.

Many wonder why Jesus speaks such words of grace to the wretched of the earth, people who others had given up on. Why, many question, did He choose such common men to be His disciples? Why did He heal beggars and sinners, and free even the demon possessed of the earth?

Often our prejudice leads us to determine that some people are not worth saving. Jesus never did that. Everybody was worth helping and saving to Him.

The doctrine of God’s sovereignty, (His right to do His will), upsets and provokes the proud. Such people do not seek God’s favor, nor do they seek to know His ‘good ways.’

Instead, they often get jealous, even mad, as others receive God’s favor. God wants us to use ‘good ways’ and it is He who demands we be open to ‘new means.’

Today Jesus still gets rejected by many who hear His message. Daily we crucify Him by our sins. If we honor Jesus, we must be obedient to His word.

“Good ways” are blessed by God and within such ways there is special power to produce ‘new means.’

The Rev. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or pastor@churchoftheopendoormiami.org