The inspiration for this article came to me on July 10th of this year due to an event in my life that took place exactly 50 years earlier (July 10th, 1970). It was the day when I had to appear in Family Court with some of my friends to answer accusations and charges that were made against us. Fortunately, the judge quickly ruled that the charges were baseless and dismissed the hearing. I will never forget the exhilaration of liberty as we came forth from the Judge’s chambers. Though only 12 years old at the time, having to appear in court was a terrifying experience.
The number 50 has interesting meaning in scripture. A few weeks back, we addressed the subject of Pentecost and the reality of “receiving Power from on High” (Acts 1:8). Pentecost took place exactly 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The Jubilee year is expressed in some detail in Leviticus 25. The number 50 also governs the year of Jubilee. What meaning can the Jubilee have for us as individuals as well as for the church? There are many key elements but in this devotional, I would like to address two primary takeaways.
1) Setting free of the Captives (Luke 4:18)
Jesus, in this setting, was quoting a verse from Isaiah which reads in part “…To proclaim liberty to the captives…”. Satan is a taskmaster and he works hard in seeking to keep the people of God in bondage. This can take on many forms such as struggles with sin, or having to endure difficult situations or people. As believers we need to appreciate all that was accomplished at the cross. Jesus made an open show of His power over Satan by stripping him of authority and power (Colossians 2:15). The greater revelation we have of the cross is the greater revelation we will have of true liberty. Jesus not only set the captives free but he also healed the broken-hearted and set at liberty those who have been oppressed (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18). He also gave the power and anointing to proclaim the Good News far and wide. This truth links beautifully with our previous devotionals on receiving Power from on High. Do you perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
2) Coming into Rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
One of the requirements of the Jubilee year was for the land to have rest from reaping and sowing (Leviticus 25:11-12). It was a time where God would provide their needs with the people having opportunity in resting from their labours. How does that sound in the midst of our ever-striving culture? We keep pushing and working hard in our daily grind to get by in both secular and church related functions. Jesus gave an invitation for His own to come unto Him for the purpose of receiving His Rest (Matthew 11:28). Physically, there is only so much one can achieve without God. Once again, we need to understand the nature of our enemy. Satan is not only a taskmaster, but is also one who drives people to exhaustion. The Lord reminds us that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30). In reality, the Lord’s yoke and burden are not easy and light, but within His appointed Rest, they can be achieved. The set time has come for the people of God to enter into their appointed season of Rest (Psalm 102:13, Hebrews 4:9).
I can still vividly recall the exhilaration of being set free 50 years ago from the worries and fears of being found guilty. The message of the Jubilee year is real and serves as a powerful reminder of the work that Christ has done at Calvary.
Are you weighed down with guilt, shame or bound in a personalised captivity? Perhaps you are physically and emotionally drained and on the verge of burnout. You do the best you can in serving the Lord and yet things seem to keep weighing you down.
We are in a New Season and God is speaking a New Thing (Isaiah 43:19). He is calling us to Himself so that we might come to know the anointing, empowerment and release that comes from Him. This is the Jubilee message and its time and season is now!