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The Favorable Year of the Lord [pt. 6]

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:18–19

After doing the research we have in the previous articles, the favorable year of the Lord naturally seems to be the year of jubilee, which was related to the Sabbath that would be observed every seven years. From the dead sea scrolls, we know that Isaiah 61 was interpreted as an “end-times” text by at least some of the Jewish people. They would link it with passages like Leviticus 25:13 as we have noticed in our own studies.

Concerning the themes of preaching good news to the poor, releasing the captives, etc. David Pao points out in Beale and Carson’s work Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, “Metaphors from the economic, political, physical, and social realms were used to express the expectation of the total reversal of the fate of Israel with the arrival of the eschatological era.” This would be accomplished, of course, through the kingdom of God.

Thus, when Jesus closes the book, hands it to the attendant, and says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” He is announcing that the fulfillment of the prophetic calendar has begun.

The favorable year of the Lord means a new era has begun, an age of a kingdom that will never end. A world in which God’s people are the temple. A temple in which the sacrifices which God desires are care for the poor and justice for the oppressed. A kingdom in which the first is made last and the last first. A religion in which the gospel means good news for everyone, not just one people, tribe, or nation.

As we end 2021 and move into 2022, let’s make this kingdom message our priority. Let’s preach it, proclaim it, but most of all live it. Let’s allow it to infect everything we do from church to school to our jobs and to our hobbies. If we really believe that the kingdom of God is present; if we really believe that there is real healing available for the nations, then let’s get to work in this new year!

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