Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Year of Jubilee

Lk.4:18-19 - The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


If we could study for a billion years about the Spiritual correlation between the earthly Year of Jubilee given to Israel in Leviticus 25 and the Spiritual Year of Jubilee embedded in the person of Jesus our Lord we would only scratch the surface of the glories of His eternal grace. Every seventh year Israel was commanded not to plant or harvest or do any work for their earthly sustenance, and God promised that what they would harvest on the sixth year would cover them for two years by His provision alone. Just as they had not been allowed to gather manna on the seventh day and God still was faithful in His provision, here they would be taken care of by Jehovah-Jireh without even the help of man. The Lord God would prove over and over to them, their children, their enemies, and the whole world that there "is no God like Jehovah".
Can you imagine the conversations around the table of Godly families during that seventh year? The father might ask his oldest son, Son, who provided this bread that we are eating tonight. We did not harvest any grain, where did it come from?". And the oldest son would answer with confidence in front of all his siblings, "The Lord God has provided for all of us, Father". The Father turns to his youngest son and inquires, "Son, why did God provide for us in this way?". The youngest son straightens up and says with a squeaky voice, "The Lord provided for us because we obeyed His Word that we should not work on this seventh year". And the Father goes on, "So when Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac, did he know God would provide a ram instead?". "No", said the Father's daughter. "But God knew and Abraham trusted God", she testified. "Last question", said the Father, "So do we have to see the seventh year's harvest before we know the Lord God will provide?".
"No!", shouted the entire table, "We can trust the Lord our God to always provide for us!". "Amen", finished the Father.

Now the cycle of the seventh year was observed for seven times until the 49th year. On the 48th year God had promised to bring a harvest that would provide for two more consecutive years, the 49th and the 50th. This 50th year was called the Year of Jubilee and sometimes referred to as the Acceptable Year of the Lord. In this year not only would God provide food for the family miraculously from His mighty Hand, but He commanded other things to be observed. On that 50th year all property that had been purchased during the previous 50 years was returned to its previous owner. All the debtor's prisons were opened and the captives set free. All loans that were not paid off were to be forgiven. The principle was that all bondages were to be broken and there would go throughout the nation a permeating sense of liberty that cause great joy and thankfulness.
But here in Luke Jesus opens the Scripture and proclaims that the Acceptable Year of the Lord is fulfilled in THEIR ears on THAT day. They must have wondered what could He have possibly meant. Jesus not only came to bring in the year of jubilee, He WAS the Year of Jubilee. As a side note, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty"(II Cor.3:17). The Holy Spirit brings liberty in Jesus Christ and the Scripture declares that "the Lord IS that Spirit"(II Cor.3:17). By the way, how many days after the resurrection did the Holy Spirit come? Fifty.
When a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and becomes His follower he is immediately inhabited by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture plainly declares that "he who has not the Spirit" is none of His, so all true believers are inhabited by the Spirit Himself which in a eternal mystery is Jesus Himself. This means freedom from the justice of an angry God. Our debt has been paid, our crimes forgiven and we are set free from sin's eternal prison. We get so callous sometimes that we lose the "Christmas morning" joy that should grip our souls every time we pause to again realize we have been made free. And "He who the son sets free is FREE INDEED!". Have you ever seen a movie where a prisoner who has spent the better part of his life behind bars takes his first step through the gates to freedom and he draws a deep breath of exhilaration and exclaims "I'm free!". It's the same air but it's a different spirit in his mind and heart. Take a deep breath, if you are in Christ you are free from the penalty of sin - FOREVER. None of this purgatory nonsense, God doesn't play games with the power of His Son's blood, we are eternally free!
And we are not free because we craftily found a way around our sentence. We didn't talk our way out of it or plead ignorance, oh no, we were caught absolutely dead to rights with all the evidence for the entire universe to examine and we felt ourselves justified in our actions. The vilest of creatures who trampled on the holiness of God, we deserved a billion hells. The angels probably thought us to be the worst of all God's creations, after all, we were made in the Father God's image and we had taken His image and dragged it through the filthy rags of our own disgusting self righteousness and as a race did open despite unto the Spirit of grace. But now as believers we were free. I said as "believers". Not climbing up St. Peters on our knees; not by feeding the poor; not by giving money; not by obeying the ten commandments; not by Baptism, fasting, communion, church membership, not by self flagellation, not by a trillion of the most self sacrificing, loving, and well intentioned good works. No, simply by repenting of all that and bowing our hearts and placing our entire faith on the Lord Jesus Christ we are now free.
And now I am a debtor of love. All my sins have been paid for through the complete sacrifice by God's own Son and I owe nothing. I will never owe anything...EXCEPT...I willingly owe Jesus Christ my life and I am a prisoner of His love to me and my love for Him. It is a love that the world can never understand and they sometimes mock. It is a prison without bars and without a warden. Actually it is a prison unlike anything the devil can ever offer. Sumptuous meals, heavenly accommodations, warm in winter, cool in summer, open sunlight, clothes of white, enjoyable labor, divine reading material, and a death sentence followed by a life sentence. The door is never shut but I would never think of leaving, for I am His forever and grateful to be His prisoner. And oh yes, there is one thing about my cellblock that surpasses all else:

He is here with me always, even unto the end of the world.

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