Jesus walks into a synagogue in his own hometown, Nazareth. He gets up and the reading (whether planned or spontaneous, we are not certain) comes from Isaiah 61 (with a little inter-mingling with Isaiah 58:6). We know the passage well.
Jesus follows up with maybe the shortest sermon in the history of mankind. He simply states: ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
Before the cross, before the resurrection, before his enthronement next to the Father’s right hand. Right then and there, Jesus, God’s anointed Messiah, tells them this is the time. Fulfilment like they weren’t expecting.
The ‘year of the Lord’s favour’, as quoted, most likely points to that HUGE celebration every 50 years, called the Jubilee. We aren’t really sure if the Israelites ever participated in the event. We don’t read about it after Leviticus 25. But it was to be a year of release, forgiveness, restoration and celebration. All debts were to be obliterated and this would lead to just a bit of celebrating.
Jesus steps into a Nazarene synagogue and says the time is fulfilled (not unlike Mark’s report in 1:14-15 where Jesus says the time is fulfilled and the rule of God has come).
For every Jew, and only Jews or Jewish converts would be hanging out in a synagogue, this was music to their ears. Good news proclaimed to the destitute of life, captives released, oppressed liberated, the year of Jubilee is upon us. You can imagine why they responded this way – All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.
Imagine getting a letter from your mortgage company, after only 3 years into the 30+ year mortgage, stating that the final amount on your mortgage will not need to paid, EVER. Don’t worry about that final $200,000.
You probably wouldn’t respond with a golf clap and a quaint thank you. It’s more likely you’d be running out into the street shouting. Released from that amount of debt!
It was Jubilee time for God’s people. The evangel always begins with God’s people, transforms them, and them moves them out to announce it to all other image bearers whom the Father is calling.
It’s that time. It’s that year. Jubilee is upon us. All debts gone. All captives liberated. All children coming back to the satisfied Father. Why not celebrate it and announce it?! I mean really celebrate it. Our celebration might just be our announcement.
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I’m no scholar, Scott, but I believe the Year of Jubilee was observed (and still is to a certain degree) every SEVEN years. It is a time of renewal and rebirth and mirrors many other occurances of the number seven being a time of completion and then rest and the number eight being the start of a new age.
Jesus was telling them that the ULTIMATE Year of Jubilee was now upon them, for the time of rest (from the power of sin) and rebirth (in the Spirit) was about to occur and a new age (the age of grace) was set to begin.
It’s amazing how this celebration that God set up hundreds of years before was just another picture or foreshadowing of His ultimate plan of redemption through Christ.
God is just so cool like that. 🙂
The sabbath was observed every 7 days, the sabbath year was observed every 7 years, the Jubilee was observed every 50 years.
But all the practicalities you describe would have been part of the celebration of the Jubilee.
Well, I did some research (Google) and found that what I had been previously taught was wrong. Learn something new every day. I do find it funny that debate continues on whether it is the 49th or 50th year. Seems scholars will always find something to argue about. 🙂
The Jubilee is declared in the 7th month of the 49th year thus only 48 years 6 months. In Exodus an new month was given to begin the year but to remind them of the creation calendar the Jubilee is in the first month of the creation calendar . Whether this declared year of the Lord actually spans a year from 7th month to 7 month is not really described cause nothing in the wording suggest anything different than the continuation of the 7 year Sabbath that had started in the 1st month that ends the day of the next year. So the time span probably is only 49 years but could be 49 years in 7 month with the 7 months over laping the first year in next count. This alows for planting the 1st year to eat of it the 2nd.
but i really believe the year of the lord is in memory of the creation which had seven period of time which could be represented in 7 months after the Jubilee year started in the 7 month of the 49th year which probably was always a leap year.
I believe that gen 6 speak of the time span of man till the next Sabbath like the one after creation which is 120 years (120x 49) and also believe Jerimiah spoke of the time span of Israel till the next Sabbath of the Lord as 70 years . In this 70 years all sin is to be put away which to this very day still exist. So it is very possible that the first jubilee of Isreal was the 50th in the count of years of the Lord in wasnt refering to the 49 year count of 7- 7 year Sabbaths.
Thanks for the reply, Robert. I’d like to tell you that I understood all that, but truthfully, not so much.
It’s more the spirit or intention of the year of Jubilee that gets me excited rather than just how many years or months or whatever there is between them. I know the Lord will show us how He worked it all out if we even care to ask Him when we get there. And I know we will be amazed at how precise His timings are.
Whats more spiritual then the works of the Creator.and understanding the reason it was given to Israel. It was pure love and justice for all men.
How can you really get excited about something you dont care enough about to even try to understand .
I absolutely love this post Scott!