The Year of the LORD’s Favor
TEXT: Luke 4:14-21
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 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, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “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,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,…”
20 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. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
What you just heard Cathy read is Jesus giving His mission statement.
Jesus was preaching to His home town of Nazareth.
Jesus had preached other sermons first but this is the first time he had given His statement of purpose to us.
He quoted the Book of Isaiah chapter 61, verses 1 &2 where Isaiah predicted the Messiah would come
*SHOW SLIDE ONE
If you remember that Jesus last words on the cross was “It is finished” You can’t finish something that you did not start.
Jesus had a goal for His life.
Notice that the first part of His mission is exactly how He would do what He would do such as bind up the broken hearted, etc. etc.
But the last part of His goal was non-specific but very revealing.
He was going to pronounce the year of favor of the Lord.
Now every Jew knew that the year of favor of the Lord is the year of Jubilee or when every Jew was forgiven of his debt.
While Jesus coming was to pronounce the forgiveness of every sinner’s debt to God –which was eternal death in hell, He also came to pronounce the year of Grace.
Favor in this verse is translated as grace.
Let me read that mission statement as it is translated from the Aramaic:
(SHOW SLIDE 2)
“God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins;
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They will start over in the ruined cities
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God,"