In April 2012, an estimated £1.3 billion was spent celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth ll. This is somewhat ironic as the word ‘jubilee’ is a biblical term associated with the cancelling of debts – a time of emancipation and restoration, supposed to be kept every fifty years. It can be applied to any big anniversary for a reigning monarch and is to be a time of jubilation. What is it that makes you jubilant? Is it the same thing that makes God jubilant? There are many indications that you will find this ‘Jubilee’ in the heart of God as will be explored in this Booster. To understand freedom you must first understand captivity and oppression. With the pandemic of 2020 came an oppression of people as rich and poor alike had to wear face masks, endure lockdowns and long for release. When a vaccine was discovered and lockdowns ended, people discarded their masks – a bizarre symbol of jubilee.
- ‘Life is one long jubilee’ – Ira Gershwin
- 'Redemption sounds like a jubilee. Like a second line, if you will’ – Dawn Richard
- ‘In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to the person from whom it was bought, the one whose land it was’ – Leviticus 27:24
- ‘Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it’ – Harry Emerson Fosdick
All around you, people are carrying heavy loads and may be imprisoned, despite seeming to be free. Captivity comes in many shapes and sizes – guilt, shame, low self-worth, envy, anxiety, greed and dependencies of various kinds. Most will never find freedom but will continue to battle on behind the façade. It is a tragedy that many will die in captivity when release is not only possible but is God’s desire for each one. Think about it for a moment: even when mankind chose captivity through that first disobedience and had to leave Eden, God announced his rescue plan through the seed of Abraham. When his chosen people were taken into captivity, God was preparing Moses to lead them into freedom. Isaiah declared that the coming Messiah would bring freedom, Jesus Christ is the promised one who fulfils it and the Holy Spirit is the one who sustains it. There is no captivity known to men and women that God cannot break.
- ‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it’ – 1 Corinthians 10:13
- ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ – 2 Peter 3:9
- ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ – Romans 5:8
- ‘I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture’ – John 10:9
- ‘I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron’ – Isaiah 45:2
- ‘”No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me”, declares the Lord’ – Isaiah 54:17
How can we know that this truly is the generous ‘Jubilee-heart’ of God?Jesus tells us that he and his Father are one and Paul’s letter to Colossians reveals that Jesus is the ‘exact representation’ of his Father.Jesus himself tells Philip this: ‘“Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say”, “Show us the Father”?’ – John 14:9
The power of Jubilee is immense because it has the ‘weight’ of the Almighty behind it.Sometimes something sounds so good that we can hardly believe it.Whilst adverts may con us for some exploitation, the gift and promise of God are vouchsafed for us by his own character, holiness and restoration purposes. Listen again to Isaiah’s declaration:
- ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour’ – Isaiah 61:1-3
The incarnate Christ of God, Immanuel, Jesus himself is the embodiment and fulfilment of this:
- ‘Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘”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 favour.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”’ – Luke 4:14-21
If you need a break, then break free with Jesus, the ‘Jubilee-Maker’. There are all sorts of signs that can symbolise jubilees today – torn up scratch cards, the burning of unworthy publications, tears, hugs, smiles and hearts at peace. If you are a child of Jubilee, then you too can be a ‘jubilee-sharer’ - as you live out a life of jubilee there will be those walking in darkness who will see the light of Christ and find hope for their own jubilee.
TAGS – liberation, emancipation, redemption, rescue, healing, gospel, mission