Summary: Seventh in series. God’s time and timing aren’t always what we anticipate.
Introduction: "Tulsa Time"
-looking back to an easier time
-in the midst of our instant fast food, techno driven, consumer savvy world many are looking back to an easier time, a "Mayberry Moment"
For others the search is not to the past, but the future.
-they live in hope and anticipation of a new time.
-their thoughts are not to the "glory" of the past, but the "potential" of the future
-the teen looks forward to the day when they can leave home and live the ‘freedom’ of adult life.
-the student anticipates graduation when their degree ushers them into the realm of productive labor.
-the indebted looks forward to issuing the last loan repayment check.
-the sick and injured looks forward to restored health and release from the hospital.
-the prisoner longs for the day of release
I. Year of Jubilee
The original listeners of our text were looking forward:
-to the end of Roman occupation
-to the restoring of Israel as a great nation
What peeks their attention is the "proclamation of the acceptable year of the Lord."
Refers to: The year of release
The year of Jubilee
-commanded by Mosaic Law
-50 year cycle
-years of indebtedness, drought
-children, spouse, self –indentured servants
More than just granting freedom; it provided hope.
Those who could not purchase freedom
Freedom was freely given
Jesus says, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
The rams horn is blowing. The captives are being set free.
"With these words, Jesus sets up the great contrast between His kingdom and the dominant culture of the day. In a culture where indebtedness was the rule of life, this declaration turned everything upside down. In a society where people owe both gods and humans, Jesus announces a season where the status quo life of obligation and debt has been overturned. In a culture where the blind have always remained blind, the dead have always remained dead, and sinners have always remained sinners, light has come, resurrection has taken place, forgiveness has been granted.
With Jesus’ declaration, the long-anticipated ram’s horn has sounded. The debts have all been canceled. What could never have been paid back is no longer owed. Kingdom time is no longer on the horizon; it is now. Therefore, Kingdom people will know what it means to ask, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."
But the ram’s horn did not just blow then. The ram’s horn is blasting its shrill announcement today. Much like those who came before us, we live in a world of settled answers and comfortable maintenance. Because the oppressed are too weak to overcome, they remained oppressed. Because the poor are too impoverished to buy their way out of the gutter, they remain poor. Because the imprisoned are too bound to unlock their chains, they remain imprisoned. And because sinners are too sinful to be accepted, they remain sinners.
We get comfortable with the way things are and conclude that this is the way things will always be. But the ram’s horn has blown. The message of the Kingdom is pronounced today, right here in our church, right here in our neighborhood, right here in our city: "Your debts are canceled. What you could not ever begin to pay back, you no longer owe."
Kingdom time--jubilee--is not about oppressed people who become powerful enough to overcome. Nor is it about poor people who become rich enough to buy their way out of poverty. Nor is it about prisoners who become strong enough to unlock their chains. Nor is it about sinners who become good enough to be forgiven. Instead, Kingdom time is about people who, while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins, oppressed, poor, blind, imprisoned, sinful, have been forgiven."
[Dr. Tim Green. "Embodying Our Identity: Living In Kingdom Time". Taken from his series "Celebrating Our Identity". Http://www.preachersmagazine.org.]
Conclusion: "What does it mean for us to be the people of God? What is our identity? We are people who have heard the ram’s horn blow. We are people who have heard the good news that the time has been fulfilled. We are people who live in Kingdom time. This is the season of forgiveness. This is the season when all of the brokenness, the disease, the death, the bondage, the sin that we have simply accepted as the rule of life has been overturned. Indeed, this is good news to those of us who could never repay our debt. Those who are in bondage, hear the news: "The doors have been opened." Those who are broken, hear the news: "Be made whole." Those who are hungry and thirst, hear the news: "Eat and drink to your fill." Those who have sinned, hear the news: "Your sins are forgiven."" [ibid]