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calendar06 June 2022

Author: Owen Crane

A different Jubilee

A different Jubilee

Last weekend, all across the UK, we gathered in parks, streets and houses to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. There were miles of bunting, gallons of lemonade and an abundance of cupcakes. As I've been thinking about the celebrations, I was reminded of the time Jesus declared his own Jubilee.

A Biblical Jubilee

Picture the scene. There was no bunting, jubilee cake or glasses of Pimms, just a simple synagogue in a remote village where the community had gathered for the sabbath. All eyes were upon a Rabbi who had returned to his hometown after teaching and healing in the region of Galilee. He grew up among them, learning the carpentry trade from his father and living with his family.

As the service began, the people turned their attention to the reading of the Scriptures. Jesus was handed the scroll of the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled it and turned to Isaiah 61:1-2. He lifted his voice and read the ancient prophecy,

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim the 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 favour.'

He stopped and read no more. He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue attendant and sat down, as was the practice of a Rabbi, before he began to teach. All eyes were riveted on him. The people waited for him to explain the significance of Isaiah's prophecy about the coming Messiah. Jesus turned to his hearers and simply said, 

'Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'

The crowd were outraged; this was blasphemy. They were so enraged that they tried to kill Jesus.

A Jubilee that caused a stir

What was so wrong with what Jesus said?

To understand that, we need to turn our Bibles all the way back to Leviticus 25, where God is giving the Law to his people. As part of the Law, God initiates a year of favour known as Jubilee every 50 years. It's a year that came to symbolise the grace and love of God. All debts were forgiven during the Jubilee year, and all land was returned to the original families. It was a moment of reset for an entire nation. Enslaved people were set free, and debts were wiped out.

When Jesus sat in his hometown synagogue and declared that the Jubilee was fulfilled in Him, he declared himself the Messiah. He told the world that he has come not to wipe out material debts but spiritual ones. The Jubilee of Jesus doesn't return us to our family's land but brings us into a whole new heavenly family where we are called children of God. That is the good news that Jesus came to show us.

A Jubilee for today

For over twenty five years, CAP has sought to live out the words of Jesus as we bring good news to the poor and liberty to the oppressed. Not just materially but also by proclaiming that Jesus brings a heavenly Jubilee. This Jubilee is freedom and an open invitation to all to come into the family of God.

As you remember the Queen's Jubilee, I invite you to reflect on the heavenly one. Give thanks for what Jesus did for all of us, and continue to pray for the team at CAP as they work to let our clients know what Jesus has done for them.

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