Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
The Year 2019 is the “Year of Jubilee.” The Year of Jubilee is the year of Freedom.
God had commanded the Israelites that the fiftieth year should be celebrated as the Year of Jubilee(Lev. 25:11). It is set after counting off “seven Sabbath years” or after every 49 years. In the Jubilee year, debts are forgiven, slaves are set free and the land is returned to its original owner. There is also repentance, rest, redemption and restoration during the Jubilee Year.
Prophet Isaiah had the same vision many years later and he called it the “Year of Lord’s favour” (Isa. 61:1-2). When Jesus came into this world, He proclaimed the inauguration of the Jubilee Year as He read from the Book of Isaiah; “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because he has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”(Luk.4:18-19). After reading from the Scripture, He declared that the prophecy was now fulfilled. Jesus inaugurated the Jubilee Year with His death and resurrection.
Some of the important facts we need to remember during the Year of Jubilee are:
1. The Year of Jubilee started with sounding of trumpet on the Day of Atonement. It is important to note that God’s people were required to repent of their sins and seek forgiveness to enter the Jubilee Year. On the Day of Atonement, the repentant Israelites were assured that their sins were forgiven.
2. It is the year of liberty to the prisoners. People were required to release their slaves in the Jubilee Year so that they might return to their own families. It is a time of liberation and homecoming for the slaves and prisoners.
3. It is a year of rest for the people and the land. During that year, there would be no reaping, planting or gathering of the crops. It was to be holy to the nation and everyone could eat the produce of the field. Every Sabbath year was a year of rest. But Jubilee Year would be an extra rest year in addition to the Sabbath rest.
4. It is also the year of restoration of the property to its original owner. Any property that was sold, since the previous Jubilee Year, was required to be restored back to the owner during the Jubilee Year. The land belongs to the Lord and it shall not be sold permanently (Lev.25:23).
5. There is a provision of redemption in the Law of Moses. If a fellow Israelite became poor and had sold his property to pay off debts, and if he was not able to buy it back, then his nearest relative could redeem it. In case he did not have a redeemer, in the Jubilee year, his land would be restored back to the original owner.
The Jubilee Year started on the Day of Atonement, which is fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The debt of sin that we owed, which we were unable to pay, is paid in full on the cross. Once we were slaves to sin and held captive, but God has set us free. Ezekiel calls it as “the Year of Freedom” (Eze.46:17). And Peter called it “times of refreshing”. He exhorted that anyone can enter this freedom by repenting and receiving forgiveness of their sins (Acts. 3:19).
The Jubilee Year presents a beautiful picture of redemption and forgiveness. Christ is our Redeemer, who came to set us free from sin. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Jn.8:36). We are redeemed from the slavery of sin and Satan, and are restored to the glorious liberty of the Children of God.
During the Jubilee Year, people were commanded to rest from their labour. We, who have entered this freedom by receiving forgiveness from God, can rest from our labour because salvation is fully the work of the Lord. We can now rejoice because our debts of sin have been paid for in full and we have been set free.
For the Israelites, the Jubilee Year was a reminder that they were once slaves in Egypt and that God has delivered them from slavery. And they were required to remember their past and to set their slaves free during the Jubilee Year.
Like the announcement of the year of Jubilee, the Gospel is good news to the poor, because their debts have been paid and are completely forgiven. This is the Year of Jubilee for those who are in Christ Jesus as they have been set free from debts, which they were unable to pay.
Observing the Jubilee Year was a sign of trusting in the Lord. And it was accompanied by great blessings. Even as we enjoy this freedom and rest in Christ, trust in the Lord, remember God’s forgiveness and forgive our debtors so that they too may enjoy the freedom which God wants them to enjoy.
Wishing you all a Year of Jubilee; a year of freedom, rest and restoration!
Yours in Christ
Pastor M.A. Jacob
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