Summary: Short message concluding this series.
Reflect the Purposes of Christmas
#4 – “To Proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favor”
December 22, 2002
Today we finish up our series on reflecting the purposes of Christ. We have been focusing on the passage from Luke chapter four, where Jesus uses a passage from the book of Isaiah to declare that He was the Messiah.
I have it printed at the top of your bulletin, and I would like us to read it one more time together, okay?
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
I want to use the last portion of this Scripture to discuss what God is doing today in proclaiming His favor.
My hope is that when you leave here today you will not only have a better understanding of this passage, but more importantly, motivated by the Holy Spirit to continue to proclaim it, as Jesus commands us to do.
The phrase “the year of the Lord’s favor” is in reference to something in the Old Testament called the Year of Jubilee.
Let’s take a look at that real quickly.
The Year of Jubilee…
God demanded in the Law that every fifty years land would be given back to the original owners, slaves were to be set free, and debts were to be forgiven.
It was a reminder of God’s grace and forgiveness.
Once every fifty years land you had sold to raise money was given back to you.
Families would be reunited and made whole again. Grandpa who had to sell himself as a slave to provide for his family or pay a debt would get to come home.
The accountant would cross any debts off the books, and mark them “Paid in full.”
There was no dark cloud of debt, obligation, or penalty.
You can be sure that the Israelites looked forward to that time every fifty years! Who wouldn’t? To know that one day all will be forgiven.
Well, let tell you something: the year of Jubilee…
…is still here!
That’s right! It’s still here!
Now obviously we don’t live in Old Testament times, and we don’t expect people to relieve our debts when the Year of Jubilee comes, but the freedom that comes with that is still available, at least in the sight of God.
Let me explain.
You see, outside of God’s family, you’re a slave to sin. You have a debt to God because of it, and it’s a debt you will never be able to repay.
But God sent His Son Jesus to become a little baby, and not just to be a baby. He came to be a man who would shed His blood in payment for your debt.
Because you have to remember that Bethlehem is not the end of the story. It’s not even the beginning – Christ was with God before the beginning of time. The end of the story begins at Calvary, with Jesus dying so you could live forever, and ends with His triumphant resurrection.
And when you come to God, trusting that Christ paid it all for you, and throwing yourself at His mercy and grace, then you receive a pardon. A pardon from your debt of sin to God.
Your record is wiped clean, because the ledger has been marked, “Paid in Full!”
When God looks at your record now, He sees His Son. He sees that the blood He shed was all that was necessary.
And when He looks at you He sees a child of God, heir to all the wonderful riches of Christ.
Boy, I hope that’s you today. I hope you can call yourself a paid-up child of God.
If you’re not, then call on Him to do it, and He will. He promises it. And you can live as a free man or woman from now on in the sight of God.
The Year of Jubilee is still around,…
So spread the good news about it!
Folks, I would hope that you would consider the pardon of sins and a new life would be good news in your eyes. I’m betting that it is.
But let me challenge you a bit. If it’s good news to you, then it’s good news to someone else, too.
There’s someone you know right now that needs to hear the message of forgiveness from God.
And I want you to make a point of praying for an opportunity to tell that person that they can become a child of God, with all his or her debts to God covered by Jesus.
Can I just be real frank and blunt here for a moment? If you are a born-again child of God, then it is just plain selfish of you to keep it to yourself.