This week's devotions are written by MBBC Student Ministry Intern Allison McSwain.
"The Year of the Lord's Favor"
My students at MBBC would tell you that I love the Old Testament. I’m passionate about seeing it preached in the church today during a time when I believe it is often neglected. I love drawing parallels between the Old and New Testaments. The God of each Testament is the same God telling the same story, and I am thrilled when I see Old Testament connections arise in a New Testament passage. Today’s text is one of those places where God’s grand plan from the beginning was exposed and fulfilled.
Jesus read Isaiah 61:1–2 before the congregation and revealed that He was indeed the anointed Messiah foretold in Holy Scripture—He was (and is) the One who binds up the brokenhearted and sets the captives free. Along with Isaiah, Jesus claimed to be the One God chose to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:19 ESV). This year was an allusion to the year of jubilee discussed in Leviticus 25. During the year of jubilee, anyone who was serving as a slave gained freedom. It was also a year of rest both for the land and the people; Israel was to refrain from planting seed and working the land.
Jesus ushered in a year of the Lord’s favor that is still continuing to this day—an eternal year of jubilee. In this time, those who accept Christ are released from slavery to sin and experience true liberty and life in the Spirit. Jesus also allows us to enter into true rest. In Christ, we are free to rest from striving, as our good works cannot save us. We accept the free gift of saving grace and have peace with God. Praise be to our Savior, that Prophet, Priest, and King Jesus Christ who sets the captives free from eternal separation from God!
Jesus was a Prophet greater than Isaiah and the very fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy; yet the people did not believe Him. They were filled with anger at the thought of Joseph’s son claiming to be the Lord’s anointed. Jesus’ prophecy came true—He was a Prophet not accepted in His hometown. Are you truly accepting that Jesus is who He says He is? Take some time today to meditate on the identity of Christ. He claims to be our Shepherd, our Living Water, and our Bread of Life. Thank Christ for who He has been to you and trust that He will continue to free you in this year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:16-30 (ESV):
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.