The combination of the Jubilee weekend and Pentecost seems to us to be a
particularly special one, as it draws together the Biblical themes of redemption,
freedom, empowering and celebration. Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee gives us a
reason to recall her many years of faithful service and personal sacrifice, and
many of us will share the celebrations with friends and family. But jubilees are not
just for reigning monarchs and their people – God originally designed them as a
gift that restored lost freedoms to his people every fifty years.
We can read God’s instructions to Moses in Leviticus 25: – ‘Consecrate the fiftieth
year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be
a jubilee for you… and is to be holy for you… Even if someone is not redeemed in
any (other) way, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee.’ In
jubilee years, slaves were to be released, property returned to its original owners,
and everyone was to go back to their homes and families in peace and safety.
Interestingly, there are few other references to jubilee in the scriptures – all in
Leviticus and Deuteronomy – so perhaps the concept was never really embraced,
and God’s wonderful intention was lost.
That brings us to the other significant event we are celebrating today – the Day of
Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection, ten days after his ascension, and
the beginning of a whole new era. The Holy Spirit came upon those who were
obediently waiting for him – people who remembered Jesus’ promise that: ‘The
Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to
the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of
sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s
favour.’ No wonder Jesus’ friend Peter could proclaim with such authority to
thousands of listeners “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 promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all
whom the Lord our God will call.”
The promise is still the same today. This is the Year of Jubilee, and through the
gift of his Spirit, we are freed to be the redeemed people of God – Hallelujah!
With our love and prayers
Matthew and Pauline