Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1- The Year of Jubilee

March 1, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31;
Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21

Leviticus 24:1-25:46

If you've been following this blog you know that my motivation for starting the blog was to commemorate turning 50 years old this year.  As we begin our reading for the month of March I will be turning 50 in 4 days!  It is appropriate then that our first reading for the month of March is the introduction by God to the Israelites of the concept of the Year of Jubilee.  Today, I am going to use portions of my article Why Jubilee? to explain the purpose of God's provision for jubilee.  Let the celebration begin!

The Proposal of Jubilee
Leviticus 25:11-12; Leviticus 25:13-17; 23-55                

God proposed the idea of Jubilee in the the Mosaic Law.  Every 50th year was a Year of Jubilee.  That's right.  Every 50th year was a year of celebration.  The Jewish people in the Old Testament were commanded by God to have years of rest and restoration.  As an agrarian people, the Lord commanded that the Jewish people allow the land to rest and lay fallow on every 7th year. 

In addition to this regulation, every 50th year the Jews were to declare a Year of Jubilee.  In this year, all property would go back to the original owner, all debts on land were forgiven, any Israelite who had been sold into slavery due to debt would be freed from their obligation and released to go back to their own family and their original property.  In addition to this, every person was to rest from working the land.  Both the land and the people would rest from their labors.

Wow.  What an amazing time for the whole community!

The Picture of Jubilee
Matthew 11:28-30; Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19                                    

The Year of Jubilee is a symbolic representation of Christ.  The New Testament book of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:1) says that the Old Testament Law is a shadow of Christ.  The laws picture how Christ's life, death, and resurrection would atone for the sins of mankind.

Because he fulfilled the whole Law while he was on earth, paid the penalty for our inability to fulfill the Law with his death, and then resurrected from the dead to give us new life, Christ is now our rest from the work of trying to please God with our behavior and he is our restoration to a right relationship with God.

How are you practicing rest and reconciliation in your life?  Does your daily existence resemble a celebration?  Has Christ become your Year of Jubilee?

Mark 10:13-31

Today's New Testament reading has Jesus holding young children in his lap to bless them.  The disciples are acting like body guards and trying to keep people away from Christ.  Jesus is not pleased with this.  He is not a celebrity.  He is a loving shepherd and teacher.  He teaches the disciples that everyone who wants to enter his kingdom must have simple faith like a child. 

It is appropriate then that a rich young man comes to Christ calling him Good Teacher and asking how he can earn eternal life.  Jesus starts by challenging the man's concept of "being good."  Jesus is aware that this man believes that behavior is the key to heaven. This man may even believe he can buy his way into heaven. Jesus is about to teach this man that every human being is a sinner and human effort and works won't be able to secure eternal life for anyone. Not even this man's wealth will sway God to let him enter.

Jesus commends the man for knowing the Ten Commandments.  Jesus lists some of the commandments, but conveniently leaves out "You shall have no other gods before Me. and You shall make no idol."  The young man states confidently that he has kept all the commandments that Jesus has mentioned.  With love, Jesus then tells him to sell his possessions and come follow him.  Jesus has nailed this man's sin.  You see, this rich young ruler made money and possessions his god and idol.  This man's Achille's heal, weakness/sin has been revealed by Christ. It is materialism. Does the man repent and follow Jesus?  No.  There is no humility and brokeness in him.  He does not have the faith of a child. As far as we know, this man did not inherit eternal life.

The disciples are astounded as they think that Jesus is setting an impossibly high standard for salvation.  Jesus is teaching that if behavior and good works are the test, then perfection is the standard.  The disciples are correct.  It is impossible.  Jesus then states one of the most comforting concepts in Scripture:  With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  The disciples will learn that God's work will save them.  Jesus would do this work on the cross.  Jesus confirms to Peter that anything they have sacrificed for God will be received one hundred fold in the new heaven and the new earth.

Do you have child-like faith?  Are you still trying to work your way into heaven?  What have you sacrificed for Jesus?  (This could be pride, self-preservation, self-justification...) Christ wants your brokeness, humility, and simple faith.

Psalm 44:9-26

This psalm can represent how the nation of Israel may have felt at various times.  It definitely portrays how Christ would have felt in His life.  When you are down, can you honestly cry out to God like this psalm does?

Proverbs 10:20-21

Words from wise people are like sterling silver.  You can trust their advice.  Fools, on the other hand, are destroyed by their lack of common sense.  Do you know any fools?  Have you watched people destroy their own lives because they are fools?

What did you learn from today's reading?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. This year marks my Jubilee as well (in three and a half months). I think this Bible study is a fascinating way to spend this special year and truly enjoyed reading God's commandments about how the 50th year was to be celebrated. :)

  2. We are in the same club, Ellen. Glad to share it with you!

  3. Thank you for the reminder that our rest, even now, is in Christ.