In ancient Israel, every 50th year was to be Jubilee. It was the time to set slaves free, cancel debts, and return ancestral property to the original family. The purpose of Jubilee was to curb economic hardship and foster well-being; to prevent powerful land monopolies from taking advantage of the poor. The idea of Jubilee stemmed from the concept that God owned the land and the people were stewards over God’s property. Sadly, they seldom if ever obeyed this. Later, when Jesus read his mission statement in Nazareth, He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2. That text refers to “The Year of the LORD.” That was another way of referring to Jubilee. Jesus said He came to proclaim the Year of the LORD, to bring Good News to the poor; to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’S favor has come. As followers of Christ today, we seek to help fulfill our Lord’s mission. Of course, we will not complete all that Jesus came to achieve. He will do that when He returns. But Jubilee helps us to know where His heart lies. So we devote ourselves to His holistic agenda: We share the Good News of salvation. We also seek to help those who are today physically enslaved, suffer hunger, health disparities, and economic hardship. Jubilee should be an ongoing pursuit.
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