Luke 4:16-21 16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Approximately 18 years have now passed since Jesus’ first visit to Jerusalem with His parents for the Passover Celebration. The message has had much time to develop and it could not be any clearer than it is on this day. He is standing before people that He grew up with. He grew up in this synagogue and attended every Saturday. Through the week He attended school here as a boy. Now, possibly for the first time, He is taking His turn in this mornings reading from the Tanakh and He chooses Isaiah, one of His favorite books.
Just two to three months earlier Jesus, in submitting Himself to John’s message of repentance, experienced the first step in His 40 day initiation that takes Him from a His private world into the beginnings of a World phenomenon. The message that He brings will shake the world.
We are not sure how much time has passed from the time that He concluded His 40 day fast until He stood before the Nazareth Synagogue, but we do know that Jesus did not waist time between the eastern wilderness and His hometown. For weeks He moved from place to place, spending more time in Capernaum, continuing the message of repentance that John the Baptist was known for.
Jesus opened the scroll and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. This passage is known as the Jubilee passage. The year of Jubilee was a law which stated that on the 50th year all land would go back to the original family owners, all debts would be cancelled, and all Jewish slaves would be released.
The context of the Isaiah verse is the captivity of Judah in Babylon as is being prophesied. Isaiah prophesied that because of the sin of the southern Kingdom of Israel that they would be captured and moved to Babylon. But there was a time limit – 70 years.
Why seventy? Not only was there the year of Jubilee every 50 years but there was a year of rest every 7 years where no crops were planted to give the land a rest. But Israel forgot to do this for 490 years.
So, Israel was placed into captivity one year for ever year of rest they infracted upon – That would be 70 years.
Jesus is our Jubilee. Not a year but an era.
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