The Church and the Year of Jubilee
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.'" (Luke 4:16-19)
A Different Jesus That Day
Jesus had spoken in the synagogue on the Sabbath day many times before. This passage tells us it was his custom (vs. 16). But Jesus had never read the Scriptures the way He did on this day. The Spirit of the Lord had anointed Him. He had been to the Jordan River and had been baptized by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit had descended upon Him to give Him power to begin His earthly ministry. Everything Jesus did from that day on had a new power and anointing. The congregation on that Sabbath day noticed a great difference in their home town boy!
Jesus read a passage from Isaiah 61:1, 2. This passage prophetically spoke of Jesus and His recent anointing. Jesus told them they were witnessing the day that Isaiah's prophecy was coming to pass. The Spirit of the Lord had come to rest on Jesus and they were all witnesses.
Isaiah foretold that the One Who had this anointing would be able to:
1. Preach the gospel to the poor - This includes both spiritual and financial poverty. The gospel will give eternal life to the one who is "poor in spirit" and material blessings to the one who is financially needy.
2. Heal the brokenhearted - The gospel not only gives eternal life to our spirit and divine healing to our bodies, it also produces healing for our souls. Sorrow, wounds, bitterness, and other emotional hurts are covered by the stripes of Jesus.
3. Deliverance to the captives - This is a reference to slavery. Jesus used this in the spiritual sense and tells us the anointing is to free people from demons and satanic powers. Demon possession and oppression are broken by the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17; Acts 10:28)
4. Recovery of sight to the blind - Physical healing for every part of our bodies has come to the Body of Christ through the stripes of Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
5. Set at liberty them that are bruised - The "bruised" are the oppressed. These are people who are under the thumb of others. It may be children under the hand of overbearing, abusive parents or an employee under a tyrant of a boss. Jesus came to deliver those who are oppressed and crushed by tyrants.
The Acceptable Year
When Jesus ended His sermon, He said something strange to the ears of those present. He said He also came to preach "the acceptable year of the Lord." This was another name for the year of Jubilee. I am sure those in the audience thought Jesus was in error, as the year of Jubilee was some years away. Also, the things Jesus taught from the passage in Isaiah had nothing to do with Jubilee. The year of Jubilee had never provided for the the blind to see, the demon possessed to be delivered, or the bruised to be healed. To the Jewish people, the year of Jubilee was a year for the return of property.
A description of the year of Jubilee can be found in Leviticus 25:8-24. Jubilee was the culmination of all Sabbaths. Every seventh day was a Sabbath to the Lord, a day of rest. Every seven years, the land was to rest and no planting was to be done. After "seven sabbaths of years," or forty-nine years, the fiftieth year was to be the final Sabbath before the whole cycle began again.
The year of Jubilee began on the Day of Atonement with the sound of a trumpet. During the next year, all property was returned to its original owner, and all slaves were set free. No one was excluded because all residents of the land qualified. Social status, color, gender, or financial position did not matter. Every inhabitant of the land could claim back his or her property from fifty years before.
I am not sure how all of this worked but I am sure the legal offices were filled with people checking deeds from years gone by. This sounds like a logistical nightmare, but it was all legal. Only two things could keep you from claiming back your rightful property: ignorance or an unwillingness to claim your possessions.
Our Perpetual Jubilee
The Jubilee of Israel only lasted one year. After this, it was impossible to begin to buy and sell property again. "Buyer beware" had to be the motto of the day after the year of Jubilee was completed. If you were foolish enough to be taken the first time, you would probably be taken again. Then you would have to wait forty-nine years for this celebration to come around again!
But the Jubilee that Jesus announced, "the acceptable year of the Lord," was different. Like the Jubilee of old, this event would be announced by the Day of Atonement, the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. But unlike the Jubilee of the Old Testament, this celebration would be eternal. Because of our faith in the Lord Jesus and the new birth, the Church has entered into a perpetual Jubilee. The only way you can fail to claim your original blessings is to be ignorant of your rights, refuse to accept what is legally yours, or be talked out of them by Satan.
The Original Owners
As Jesus listed each of the blessings of the "acceptable year of the Lord," He mentioned a blessing given in place of a curse. This is important. Jesus said He would give the gospel to the poor, healing to the brokenhearted, deliverance to the captive, recovery of sight to the blind, and liberty to the bruised.
Although Jesus didn't quote it in the synagogue that day, Isaiah's prophesy continues: "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3).
I have highlighted each blessing and each curse for a reason. God gives the blessing to us and takes the curse from us. He gives us the blessing because we are the original owners of every good thing. He takes the curse from us and gives it to Satan because he is the original owner of all evil. Praise God! This was all done on legal ground. In the Old Testament, atonement for sin was made by the killing of the sacrificial goat and the banishment of the scape goat. Once the sins of Israel were taken away, Jubilee could be declared. Because a goat was not God's best, and only a type of Jesus, the One to come, Jubilee was only one year long and all possessions were up for sale again when the year was over.
Because our Atonement was purchased by the precious, incorruptible blood of the Lord Jesus, our Jubilee is eternal. We, the original owners, also have the right to keep every possession. Satan took them from man because of Adam's disobedience at a tree and God purchased them back for man because of Jesus' obedience to another tree.
The Sabbath - A Memorial to Grace
In the Ten Commandments, a person was told to "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). On this one day, you were to think of the blessings of the past week and look forward to those coming in the next. It was a day set aside to forget your own ability and remember the Lord's ability.
The Jubilee was the culmination of Sabbath days. It was a memorial to the grace of God, an entire year to remember the Lord's goodness during the forty-nine years since the last Jubilee. Over a generation had passed since then, so it was necessary to think of God's goodness passed on from one lifetime to the next. Every gift, spiritual and natural, comes to us from God's goodness and grace. Have you ever noticed how the writers of the Gospels were so quick to point out whenever Jesus' miracles happened on the Sabbath? These authors never seemed to mention when miracles happened on a Tuesday! This is because the Sabbath was a day when men were commanded not to work. If a healing or miracle took place, it had to be by the grace of God, because the Lord could not honor man's own efforts on that day. That's why Jesus delighted in healing on the Sabbath: it pointed out God's mercy and grace.
The religious leaders hated grace and so devised a plan to make it unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus was rebuked quite often for healing on that day. When Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath, the people rejoiced, but the religious leaders became angry. They said, "There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed; and not on the sabbath day" (Luke 13:14). Yet, the fact that miracles continued to happen confirmed that Jesus did not violate God's law, only man's law. He was not working; He was simply returning to man what was rightfully due.
Search the Deed
The court house must have been crowded when Jubilee began. People were pouring over old documents and deeds to find out what was rightfully theirs. If you had a deed, you could claim back your property. The present owners had no legal leg to stand on if a deed was presented.
In the same way, you must go to your deed and find out what is legally yours through the blood of Jesus. Your Jubilee was announced when you were born again. Your title deed is the Word of God, the Bible. God has promised to give you salvation in exchange for spiritual death, healing for sickness, deliverance for bondage, and joy for heaviness. There are multitudes of Scriptures on each of these areas.
When you find a Scripture, you have the right to wave it in Satan's face and take back your healing, your joy, and your deliverance. You also have the right to give Satan back his sickness, his sorrow, and his bondage.
If Satan tries to tell you this won't last and you will have to be sick or depressed again, you can tell him that your deliverance is eternal. The Resurrection of Jesus was the trumpet blast announcing the arrival of our Jubilee, a Sabbath which will last forever. Hallelujah!