Sunday, February 25, 2018

Year of Favor

Year of Favor
February 26, 2018
Isaiah 61:2  "'. . . to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

The book of Isaiah is a book of prophecy, with a significant portion of it about Jesus. In many instances in Isaiah, the words "I" and "me" refer to Jesus speaking. In the sentence, "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted," the verse is talking about the God in Heaven sending Jesus to bind up the brokenhearted. Chapter 61 in Isaiah gives a whole list of duties the God in Heaven has for Jesus to accomplish. The short list is: preach good news, bind up brokenhearted, proclaim freedom, release prisoners from darkness, proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, proclaim the day of vengeance from darkness, comfort the mourning and bestow upon them a crown. There is a huge progression, starting with good news and ending with a crown of beauty for those to whom He ministered. 

Sandwiched in the middle of that list is a bizarre phrase, "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." What does that mean, when is that year, and is it a literal 12-month calendar year. We all would like that year of favor to start today, a year of favor with the Lord, from the Lord. But since it was declared in the time and ministry of Jesus, did that year already pass? Which year was it, the year after His death on the cross? It is likely this year has not actually occurred yet in finality, but has been occurring each year since Jesus provided the forgiveness of sins. Recall in the Book of Isaiah, that the prophet was recording this prophesy for the Jews. The Jews understood a concept call the Year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee was a reset year, when anyone and everyone got a fresh start in the Jewish community. It only occurred every fifty years but if someone was in debt, that debt was forgiven. If someone had sold land to someone else, the land reverted back to the original owner. While it seems unfair to the one who lent money, or bought the land, all calculations for loans and the sale of land likely factored in how far away the year of Jubilee was.  In short, the Year of Jubilee was when everything was set right again, no matter how far off things had gotten in the past.

When Jesus was talking about the year of the Lord's favor, there was some major explaining in the verses that followed. Jesus described a time when enemies were scattered, lost ones were brought back and restored, land was healed, and the health of everything was brought back to life. It sounds very similar to the Year of Jubilee, when everything reset and was made right. Jesus came to make everything right, to reset everything and restore order and the overall health of mankind. It is likely the year of the Lord's favor is not a literal, one-time occurrence, but was an official kick-off season to the Lord's work of restoring mankind. The Lord has brought favor on you, an opportunity for everything to be made right in your life.

The time of the Lord's favor starts now, or whenever you want or need to be restored. Understand, though, that it is not a year of physical prosperity simply when you want to be prospered. Favor goes far deeper than momentary monetary gain. The year of the Lord's favor is not for momentary monetary gain; it is for forgiveness, freedom, healing, reconciliation, and eternal peace. If you feel you need His favor, then you are likely in need of a reset period, a restoration of things. Come to Him and ask Him to begin that work in you again; He is more than willing to make things right.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Lev 25:8-10, Is 43:19, Is 61, Matt 11:28-30, 2 Peter 3:8, Rev 21:5 

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