The year of Jubilee. I have seen many articles on the Year of Jubilee. But very few have fully addressed Jesus and the year of Jubilee. Yet this specific topic, the Year of Jubilee, is the main subject of messages Jesus teaches. He taught this message in Jewish synagogues and on the side of mountains to whosoever would have ears to hear.
I will show clearly what the Old Testament observance of the year of Jubilee really does. We will then see why Jesus made it central to His teaching in the New Testament. Knowing this truth can greatly benefit any Christian.
“The Year of Jubilee” is actually “The Acceptable Year of the Lord”
The Acceptable Year of the Lord is in the Book of Leviticus. This book sets out what to do in Israel’s weekly, monthly, and annual feasts, sacrifices, and observances. Many are still in use to this day. A very special event should take place every fiftieth year, its name, the Acceptable Year of the Lord.
Why the 50th year, and what takes place? Seven is a meaningful number. It relates to a weekly day of rest, the 7th day. After 49 years (seven times seven years) the whole nation is to cease working, sowing, or reaping. Both the land and people would be at rest that whole year. While resting, they are also remembering the time before the fall of man. They would not have to work, no sweat of the brow (Genesis 3:19). God would provide all they need. They would be busy, but not earning a living, or working the soil to eat. In that year there is also release from debt, release from a lost inheritance, and release from captivity for indentured slaves.
The official name of the event is The Acceptable Year of the Lord. How the term Jubilee is synonymous with this observance is interesting. That term derives from the word for “ram’s horn.” A specific long jubilant sound of a Shofar, ram’s horn blast, announces the beginning of the Jubilee year. This becomes the name for the event itself.
Hope deferred, but promised
Sadly there is no biblical record of Israel actually observing the year of Jubilee. But if it was, it only lasted for a year, perhaps once in a lifetime. Then it is business as usual for the next forty-nine years. We know its observance is not common, because it became a fond future hope. That is really what the Year of Jubilee is to do. It is to set a hope for what the Messiah will accomplish when he comes, once and for all. When the Messiah comes, he will set everything right. He will announce and usher in the Acceptable year of the Lord, the Jubilee.
When the Messiah comes, this is what he will say:
THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord . . . Isaiah 61:1-2 (AMPC).
Hope arrives, His name is Jesus
Jesus astonishes His audience when He reads this passage in the synagogue and open air meetings all could hear. The year of Jubilee is the topic Jesus uses to announce that He is the Messiah.
The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound]. Luke 4:18-19 (AMPC)
After reading the passage Jesus proclaims: Today this scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing. Luke 4:21
Jesus’ version of the Acceptable Year offers everything that the fiftieth year celebration offers, and more. Notice that all the things in Luke 4:18 that are prophesied to happen in the Acceptable Year of the Lord. They are the same things Jesus is doing. Demonic influence cast out, physical healing given out, broken-hearted are healed, and captives are set free. Notice this surpasses the physical restoration of things. Broken hearts are much harder to heal than broken bones. Liberty is promised to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.
Jesus is the Jubilee
The passages spoken from the mountain in Matthew 5:1-10 are not a sermon on how to cope with being downtrodden. Jesus is proclaiming that if you accept Jesus as the Messiah, your savior, He will accept you. Even though you did not earn the Jubilee, Jesus will be your Jubilee. He will deliver those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]. Jesus pays your sin debt, so you are free.
It is the blood of Jesus that makes us acceptable, and able to enjoy His acceptance. We are living in the Acceptable Year. Even this year is our year of Jubilee because Jesus is our Jubilee. The full weight of the blessings that attend the revelation of our being acceptable and accepted cannot be overstated. We are no longer slaves, but now His children. We have the inheritance of the saints. The time frame for blessings changes from one year in a half century to eternity. Jesus is the Year of Jubilee.
Photo by Megs Harrison on Unsplash
I am happy to see that Jesus is the Jubilee, because I doubt my job will allow me to not work for a day, much less an entire year. Great message though.