REDEFINITION We recently relaunched a campaign called “I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me.” This statement makes sense if you’ve been to Africa; it probably sounds backwards if you haven’t.

Remember when Jesus read from Isaiah in his hometown?

“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.” (Luke 4:18-19)

After reading, Jesus sat down and said, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” The crowd came expecting miracles, expecting to witness Jesus physically restoring sight or freeing captives – the “blind” and the “captives” being people other than themselves.   Instead, they got the famous “Jesus twist.” That’s where he takes the seemingly plain message of the Bible and turns it inside out, in this case making it clear that:

  • Those without money are not necessarily the “poor,”
  • Those in bondage or prison are not necessarily the “captives,”
  • Those without sight are not necessarily the “blind.”

The crowd overlooked the extraordinary fulfillment of Scripture right in their own backyard, paralyzed by their expectations of what Jesus was supposed to do. Too bad the story didn’t continue with the crowd exclaiming, “I need Jesus more than Jesus needs me.” It makes sense to us years later; it would have sounded backwards at that time.  The central idea Jesus was trying to get across? In the midst of confused expectations, the Messiah – God himself – had arrived.

The central idea of “I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me?” When you remove your expectations and see yourself as “poor,” “blind,” “captive”– that’s when you discover real joy. I hope you’ll watch the video and get a taste of the “Jesus twist,” where everything is backwards but finally makes sense.