I must confess to being easily excited when information is presented in a way that is fresh, new (at least to me), and makes perfect sense. I love that ‘aha’ moment or when I lean forward in my chair thinking ‘yes! Yes!’. A practical understanding of the Jubilee Year in this chapter is enhanced by viewing the Messiah, the coming of Christ, as the ultimate of all jubilees with a goal and intention greater than any jubilee before imagined. What will stick with me from Chapter 2 are these two things:
- The point of the jubilee – to relive the Exodus by imitating God’s mercy. Release! We are all called to do this in the duties of our everyday lives!
- The Messiah as the ultimate jubilee – Release from the slavery of sin. Release from debts owed because of sin. And the opening (release) of our inheritance, lost by the sin of Adam and Eve, but restored because of the Mission of the Messiah. The gates of heaven, open to all.
Never had I truly pondered the custom of ‘jubilee’ in the Old Testament as a prefiguring of the redemption of mankind but now that I have, I cannot un-ponder or un-see it and I have a feeling I will be marveling over this concept for some time to come.
In this chapter, Grays fills in the rich background of the Jewish understanding of Jubilee, the Sabbath of Sabbaths of Sabbaths! The Jubilee was a time of release…the release of slaves, release from one’s debts, and a release of your property held by others. What a year of celebration this must have been! It was not just a recalling of the events of the Exodus, but a reenactment of those events. It is no wonder that the Jewish people of Jesus’ time would be looking forward with great longing for a Messiah who would usher in a year of Jubilee. Of course, the Jubilee that Jesus would proclaim would be much different than their expectations.
The slaves to be freed are those enslaved to sin. The debts to be canceled are the sins of both Jews and Gentiles. The inheritance (land) to be restored is not Palestine, but Eden, the original patrimony of Adam and his children. The land to which the new Joshua (Gk. Jesus) will lead His people is the Promised Land of heaven.
We are living in the time of Jubilee! Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled.
– Deacon Ralph
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Gray lists several discussion questions at the end of this chapter. Feel free to comment on any of those questions. Below are a few of the more thought provoking ones!
- Jesus considers the worst form of bondage to be enslavement to sin. How does sin enslave us? In what ways would following Jesus liberate us from the bondage to sin?
- How does the failure to forgive create division not only among ethnic groups and nations, but within our own families and communities?
- Is the Gospel still countercultural in our day as it was in Luke’s?