The Word on the Week

Jubilee 4th June 2011

This time of rejoicing came round every 50 years and proclaimed liberty for both the inhabitants and the land. The inhabitants who had sold themselves into servitude were released and made free to make a fresh start. The land which had been sold was restored to the original family. This prevented permanent slavery and the amassing of large estates which would have reduced many Israelites to be tenants on their ancestral land. (Leviticus 25) Today this writer and his wife can identify with the rejoicing bit as this last week marked their Golden Jubilee! In the providence of God 50 years of married life were celebrated with friends and relatives, some of whom were present at the original event. The ancient Israelite laws of restoration of status and property mercifully did not need to be applied! Instead there was an opportunity to sing the praise of marriage in an age which has largely denigrated this God given institution. Throughout scripture there are many illustrations of a bridal nature. Invariably Christ is seen as the groom and the church as his bride. (Ephesians chapter 5 verses 25/32) The emphasis is on the lifelong monogamous nature of the marriage union reflecting the indissolubility of Christ’s relationship with his church. His promises to love her forever are inviolable. But it is at Pentecost that we see the fulfillment of Jubilee with the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world “without measure”. This event recorded by St Luke in Acts chapter 2 occurred 50 days after the crucifixion of Christ. It brought great joy to the disciples, so much so as to make them appear to be drunk. The confusion of language which occurred at Babel was temporarily reversed so that every one present could hear the good news of Christ in their own language. Other miracles marked the start of the Gospel age as St Peter proclaimed the good news that came from the death of Christ: “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The day climaxed with the baptism of 3,000 converts. The good news is that the Jubilee is still on.