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Jubilee

Posted by John Riemenschnitter on

Every year at The Highway Community, we organize our calendar around three worship events.

At the beginning of the Christmas season, we gather for the Stations of Advent, where we remember and celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth; on Good Friday, we gather for the Stations of the Cross, where we remember and celebrate the passion of our Savior, and the sacrifice that Jesus made to save and redeem us and the world; and then, in September, we gather for the Stations of Jubilee, where we explore and celebrate the result of Jesus’ resurrection.

So what is Jubilee, anyway?

That’s a great question! Here’s the backstory.

After God’s people had been living in Egypt for more than 400 years as immigrant slaves, God heard their cries, and moved to rescue them. He moved to free them from their oppression, and restore their dignity as people created in his image.

And, in the aftermath of that rescue, God not only wanted his people to remember their experience of his deliverance, but he also wanted them to live in response to it.

And part of that involved God’s establishment of a series of social laws that were built around the rhythm of the Sabbath. And these laws were about the Israelites rehearsing what they themselves had experienced through the exodus.

And so every 7 years, the land was to be rested as a way of remembering God’s provision; debts were to be erased; and people who had sold themselves into slavery in order to pay off debt were to be freed.

And then, in addition to that, every 50th year was to be declared the year of Jubilee. And during the year of Jubilee, all the land was to be returned to the owners who had held it at the beginning of the 50 year period.

God established these laws so that his people would reflect his heart, and live as his representatives on earth in a way that was distinct from their neighbors.

But unfortunately, the writings of the prophets repeatedly reveal that the Israelites did not observe these laws. And ultimately, the prophet Isaiah reset Jubilee as something that would be fulfilled by the coming Messiah.

Fast forward to Luke 4. Jesus is just beginning his public ministry. And for his first recorded public sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus takes the scroll of Isaiah, and reads from Isaiah 61:

“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 favor.”

With these words, Jesus was announcing that he had come as the Messiah to proclaim Jubilee—the year of the Lord’s favor.

And as Jesus’ public ministry unfolded, he embodied those words from Isaiah 61. He embodied Jubilee. He restored sight for the blind, he freed prisoners and the oppressed. And through his death and resurrection, he brought forgiveness for and freedom from sin.

Come and journey through the Stations of Jubilee.

Feel the joy of salvation.

Experience freedom and forgiveness.

Marvel at God’s provision and justice.

Revel in his generosity.

Allow God to stir your heart to mirror his heart.

I hope you’ll join us at 4:00pm!

 

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