January 28, 2013

Luke 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

I know many people who would be ok financially if they just didn’t have to spend so much of their income paying off their debt. Can you say “student loans?” But the burdens of interest and principle keep them weighed down and unable to move ahead. If only those debts were forgiven. In the passage above Jesus is quoting Isaiah and both of them seem to be alluding to something called the “year of Jubilee” found in the book of Leviticus. What is outlined there is a plan by which every 50 years the people of Israel would forgive the debts owed to one another, restore property to original families, and let the land rest for a year. It is uncertain how often the nation actually put this into practice, but it is significant that provisions were made to get people “out from under.” Here at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus is embracing this. He will proclaim a kingdom of God that commands people to help others meet their material needs and experience the love of God through a new community of grace. Many people are as weighed down by the mistakes and hurts of their past as are weighed down by their financial debts. The year of the Lord’s favor proclaims that God is not holding those things against us but is wiping the slate clean through all that Jesus is and does. We can take that energy that we put into self-guilt and worry and regret and move ahead with a life of trust in the God of love made man in Jesus. Jesus goes on to say that these words are fulfilled in the hearing of those present. If Jesus is true then it is the year of Jubilee. At least spiritually your debts are forgiven and your land restored. What would it take for you to embrace this in the coming week?

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