The extravagance of the blessings promised in these verses suggests the severity of the troubles probably endured by those to whom the promises first came. They longed for God to come and make things right, punishing the oppressors, and showering abundant blessings on God’s people. It would be a time of great joy, and only God could bring it about.
John the Baptist knew his Scriptures. He knew the prophecies which proclaimed the Day of the Lord, when God would come and save His people and punish their enemies.
Jesus has come, the one John said was the promised Messiah, but the prophecies don’t seem to be being fulfilled. The people still suffer under oppressive governments (John himself is in prison), and there is still a lot more sorrow and sighing than joy.
Jesus points out how the prophecies are being fulfilled. Every blind person given sight, every lame person now able to walk, every leper restored to wholeness and to the community, every deaf person now able to hear, and the families who lost loved ones to death and then received back those loved ones restore to life – all these are evidence of the promised Kingdom becoming a reality. Those with faith trust in this, though so much in the world still is not yet made right.