Thursday, October 20, 2011
Lift Your Voice!
Have you heard the song "The Days of Elijah" before? I'm assuming this is a resounding yes all across the board-- most people have. But in case you're in the sad minority that hasn't, I'll give you the chorus:
"Behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the stars, at the trumpets call! Lift your voice, it's the year of Jubilee, out of Zion's hill Salvation comes"
I have sang this song for years, and never really thought twice about what "jubilee" means. However, in my class with Pastor Haugen (yes, I adore Haugen and quote from him multiple times a day) this week we have been learning about the Year of Jubilee. Let me begin with Luke 4:18-19
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (emphasis added)
Verse 18 is full of wonderful promises-- that He came for the poor (in spirit, the lowly of heart, those who know they're in need of a Savior--Matthew 5:3), those held captive to sin, blind to the true light. He came for freedom! Then verse 19 comes-- whoa! "To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." According to Pastor Haugen, this is referring to the Year of Jubilee! Now, onto the meat of this post.
The Year of Jubilee was the 50th year (after seven years of seven...49...50!) for the Israelites. At this time they were required to release their slaves, forgive debts, and return inheritances. It was a year of celebrating, a year of freedom, a year of liberty-- which is what the word "jubilee" actually means.
So, in thinking of this, now jump back to Luke with me. It said that Christ came to "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". In His life, death, and resurrection Christ fulfilled the year of Jubilee. Did you catch that? Do you understand what that means for you and me? The New Testament describes us as slaves to sin, in bondage to our sin, or something to that effect. For example:
"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness."
We were slaves. But through Christ's atoning sacrifice, He has brought to us the Year of Jubilee. He has brought us freedom. We are no longer slaves!
Friends, no matter where you are, no matter what you're struggling with at the moment, you are free. Christ has set you free, all you have to do is gladly receive that free gift. How foolish would it have been for a slave to come to the year of Jubilee and say, "Ehh, no thanks." or "Hmm, maybe I'll wait until the next time". They wouldn't do that! Would you? Are you?
Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee, out of Zion's hill salvation comes!