The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:16-19 (ESV)
I love this verse because I find it very comforting. Jesus proclaims that he has come to free the captives and the oppressed. So, who are the captives and the oppressed? First, we were all captives, to the power of sin, before becoming followers of Christ and allowing his spirit to change us. Sin and darkness had power over us, but now we belong to God, and through him we have power over sin.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
Second, my interpretation is that the oppressed can mean the marginalized, the stigmatized, those who are considered less by society for whatever reason. God is close to them. As the body of Christ, we are to be Jesus’ hands and feet to help those who are oppressed and held captive, to give them hope, to be used by God to help them be set free.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NASB
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
Psalm 10:17 (ESV)
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
Psalm 103:6 (ESV)