… to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD (Luke 4:18-19).
The shadow of the cross was over Jesus’ heart as He read these words from Isaiah in His own synagogue in Nazareth. He knew that He was to fulfill that prophecy in His own suffering and death.
The last sentence of the prophecy is easily misunderstood. “The acceptable year of the Lord” also meant the Year of Jubilee. Every 50 years, according to the ancient Hebrew custom, debts were canceled, prison terms were terminated, land holdings went back to the original owners, and people forgave the resentments held through the years.
The cross makes every year the Jubilee Year. Jesus’ death cancels our sin and gives us the freedom to be forgiving. This is the acceptable year of the Lord for us. What if we committed this whole year to be one in which we set people free by loving them unconditionally and forgiving them unreservedly? That can happen through us only if it happens to us. Is there any memory, unforgiven hurt, or unrelinquished hostility still keeping you in a prison of incrimination?
There are three steps to a Jubilee Year: 1) accept forgiveness; 2) ask for forgiveness from any person you’ve hurt or harmed; 3) offer forgiveness to those who have misused or misunderstood you. Forgiveness is the one gift our Lord offers that we can’t have unless we give it away.
Make a list of people who need your forgiveness. What is the Lord telling you to say and then be to them to assure them that they are forgiven? But don’t wait. Your Jubilee Year starts today. Tomorrow may be too late!
Today I will live as a forgiven, forgiving person.