God made every seventh year in Israel a “year of release.” All debts were canceled and all bondservants released. After a sum of seven of these Sabbath years (49), every fiftieth year was called a ‘Jubilee’ – in which “liberty to all” was proclaimed throughout the land.
The year of Jubilee was all about “restoration.” All Israelites were to return to the land, to have debts forgiven, property and inheritances, once forfeited or sold, were restored. All prisoners were released from jail; families reunited, and loans canceled. It was a fresh start for all, with God himself absorbing the cost.
By dying in a Jubilee year, Jesus proclaimed “liberty” for the world. He paid our debts of sin against God (death penalty) with his own blood, reconciled our accounts (paid in full), and bought our release from God’s prison (hell). The result?
“We can draw near to God with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.”
Few words are so beautiful as the word “forgiven.” God’s grand motive through all these years of offering forgiveness, is to sum it all up in a majestic sweep of eternal restoration. Only Jesus can comfort the repentant sinner, “I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten” – those wasted years of being enslaved to sin.
Forgiveness brings restoration of relationship with our Heavenly Father; restoration to the “family of God” (a whole bunch of forgiven people, delighting in clean consciences and fresh starts); restoration to an eternal inheritance, and best of all, restoration to enjoy the daily love of Christ.
We are in a current year of Jubilee. Perhaps Jesus will return for his “redeemed” as he promised. Until then, he still invites those who have not yet responded, “return to me, for I have redeemed you.”