Summary: Based on the passage in Lev 25:8, this sermon expores Jesus as the Jubilee from Isaiah 61 and Luke 4.
Jesus is the Jubilee
Pastor Jeff Williams
In seminary, I had a friend named Mike who was working his way through school as a chimney sweep. He had been offered a job cleaning air conditioning ducts at a plant near our school. The only problem was he was too big (six feet ten inches tall) to fit into the small entry doors. That’s where I came in. He sized me up and made me a proposition I could not refuse. Maxine and I were poor and any extra money we could make was a blessing. I said yes, but I had no idea what I was getting into!
We climbed the ladder to the roof of the plant at 7:00 AM that morning. The entire roof was covered with long silver air conditioning ducts. Two guys picked me up and literally shoved me into an entry door. Once inside, I had to slide myself down the corridor by placing my hands on either side and pushing myself inch by inch. I had a bottle of Windex and I begin to clean the sides and top. I rounded a corner and suddenly I realized how absolutely dark it was in there.
Imagine being in something the size of a coffin with no light source. I am not usually claustrophobic, but that morning my heart started beating and, despite the cold, I broke out into a sweat. I panicked and started screaming for them to get me out of there. Mike pulled me out and I tumbled out onto the roof, into the cool crisp air, and grabbed Mike and said two things, “Thank you!” and “Do not make me go back in there!” While I was in there I felt trapped, disoriented, and that the walls were moving in on me. Once I was sitting on the roof, I felt an amazing feeling - FREEDOM!
Do you know the feeling I am describing? Have you ever felt hopelessly trapped? Have you experienced the incredible feeling of being set free? Students experience this feeling on the last day of school. Workers know this feeling when the whistle sounds. Serious bikers, like myself, know the exhilaration and freedom of the open road.
Freedom is something we treasure in America. Nearly 650,000 men and women have given their lives for freedom since the birth of our nation two hundred and twenty eight years ago today.
Has it ever occurred to you that freedom is the reason Jesus Christ came to this earth? Please turn in your Bibles to the book of Leviticus. This morning, I would like us to look at chapter 25. Let me introduce you to the concept known as the “Year of Jubilee.”
The Hebrew calendar was based on the number seven. Every seventh day was called the “Sabbath.” This was a day set apart; by the Lord’s own command (see Exodus 20:8-10), for worship and fellowship. No work was to be done on that day. It was a day holy to the Lord. Every seventh year was a “Sabbath Year.” In that year, no sowing or reaping could be done. The Lord miraculously provided enough crops in the sixth year to last until the end of the eighth year. This is reminiscent of the provision of manna in the wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16:26). Every seventh Sabbath year, would usher in a year called the “the Year of Jubilee.” So at the end of every forty-nine years, the year of Jubilee would begin. Let’s look at verse eight:
“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you… (Lev 25:8).
What does Leviticus 25 teach us about the Year of Jubilee?
• Verse 9 tells us that the year of Jubilee began on the Day of Atonement. This was the day that the sins of the people would be atoned for by the sacrifice of the goat and the release of the scapegoat(see Leviticus 16). So it is fitting that the year of Jubilee would begin on such a solemn day. The people fasted and prayed for ten days prior this ceremony. It was a time of deep regret and sorrow for their sins. Once the sacrifice was completed and atonement has been made for the people, then a year long celebration took place. The Year of Jubilee would begin with the blowing of the ram’s horn because the word ‘jubilee” means “sound of the horn.”
• Verse 10 tells us this was a proclamation of release to all the inhabitants of the land. All property was to be returned to its original owner.
• Verse 11 tells us there was to be no sowing or reaping that year. The land was to enjoy a year long rest along with the people.