The Year of the Lord’s Favor
Luke 4:16-21 (NLT)
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
We are familiar with this passage as a proclamation of Christ’s victory over death and sin. Yet Isaiah is using the language of Jubilee here. He is saying, “Let the trumpets blast announcing the cheerful, joyous year of liberty our Savior has given us!”
This passage also refers to the scene of Christ’s ascension into glory. The heavenly Father, after beholding the awful sufferings of His blessed Son, prepared for Jesus a glorious entrance into heaven. Indeed, as Christ made His ascension, He was escorted by a host of angels and multitudes of chariots: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high” (Psalm 68:17-18).
Our finite minds cannot begin to conceive of this glorious event. As Christ approached the eternal city of God, riding on His white horse, He was escorted by this huge procession. And as He entered the gates, the trumpets of God began to sound: “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet” (Psalm 47:5).
This was the joyful sound—the trumpets blaring, announcing the believers’ year of Jubilee! The sound proclaimed to all humankind, “I have made provision for you to walk out of prison, to be restored to your family, and to have everything you need for a fulfilled life. You are free to live without fear of any enemy. Enter now into My joy!”
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
HERE Rebecca St. James sings “You Make Everything Beautiful” while the verses above are presented in calligraphy.
5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
8 For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.