Yesterday I wrote about Jubilee in the Old Testament and its proclamation of the rest and release that God intends for all of us to enter into. Today we will look at the concept in the New Testament and delight in the fulfillment of Jubilee in Christ
Jubilee in Christ
The core theme of the gospel is this same proclamation of Jubilee. Throughout his life, Jesus, demonstrated both release and rest to those he discipled, healed and redeemed. He released individuals from all that enslaved them – captivity, poverty, oppression, disease, religious legalism – showing all who followed him that the Jubilee release foreshadowed in the OT was being fulfilled.
The Magnificat is a great song of Jubilee proclaiming from the very outset, that Jesus would bring freedom and justice for the vulnerable. Then in Luke 4:18-19 at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus uses the words of Is 61:1-2 saying that he has come to ‘…proclaim release to the captives and…to set at liberty those who are oppressed…’ and ending the reading with the words ‘…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’ What Jesus is announcing, is that God’s promised new world of release and rest for all including creation, foreshadowed in the legislation of Jubilee, has arrived.
In Matt 11:28-30 Jesus also proclaimed a rest from the toil of human labour that often set an unbearable yoke on all humankind. The yoke Christ offers his followers is freedom from legalistic religion and release from the worry of daily provision. Jesus also brought rest from the misconception that salvation came as the result of our own efforts. He proclaimed that salvation was received as a gift into a person’s life rather than being earned. The ‘kingdom’ is not a reward for good works and right living. It is offered freely to all through the gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus cut through the bondage of the sabbath restrictions and proclaimed true rest for the day. The inference for the Pharisees was plain – their legalistic way of pleasing God was worthless. God was not bothered about regulations to safeguard the commandments. God was anxious to remove them so that men and women could find rest from their strivings to know YAHWEH.
It’s as we participate in the sacrifice of Christ offered on our behalf as the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), that we’ll see the promise of the age of Jubilee spring into existence in our lives and through us into the lives of others, effecting both release and rest.