- Sermon Notes
The Favorable Year of the Lord
November 22, 2020
1. Thanksgiving. As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for.
2. And we, of all people, should embrace each day with a spirit of thanksgiving.
3. In fact, God’s Word commands us to be thankful because being thankful is God’s will for God’s people.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
4. But you might be thinking, “How can I be thankful during this dark time, in a world that is becoming more restrictive and threatening every day?”
5. I believe we can be thankful and we must be thankful because we are living in the time of God’s favor.
6. I will take it one step further and confidently say, “This is the Favorable Year of the Lord!”
7. And tonight, we are going to discover reasons to be thankful by looking at the proclamation of Jesus Christ at the beginning of His ministry.
8. From His proclamation, we will learn more about Who He is, What He has done, and How we may enjoy The Favorable Year of the Lord.
9. If you feel burdened this evening, I believe God wants to put a new song in your heart.
10. You see, nothing causes a heart to sing more than understanding the favor of the Lord.
1. Though we are only in chapter four, at this point in Luke’s Gospel there has been one confirmation after another that Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Messiah.
a. There was an angelic announcement prior to Jesus Christ’s conception. (1:26-38)
b. Followed by an angelic pronouncement at His birth. (2:13-14)
c. There were prophetic declarations by devout relatives and other Jews. (1:41-45; 2:25-38)
d. There was a divine confirmation at Jesus Christ’s baptism. (3:21-22)
e. And a decisive victory over Satan when Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness after fasting for forty days. (4:1-12)
2. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the region of Judea and returned to Galilee. (14)
3. News about Jesus spread as “He began teaching in their synagogues;” He was “praised by all.” (15)
4. Now, synagogues are places of worship where Jews gather every Sabbath to pray, read from God’s Word, and then receive instruction from a recognized teacher or leader.
5. In order to form a synagogue, ten Jewish men were required to live in the town.
6. On the Sabbath, once all were present, the sacred scroll was unrolled, and a portion of the Law was read first followed by a portion from the Prophets.
7. Out of respect for God’s Word, the reader would stand while reading the Scriptures and then be seated during the time of instruction.
8. Here, Luke records Jesus Christ’s first teaching at the synagogue in Nazareth, the town “where He had been brought up.” (16)
a. Friends and family were present.
b. Likely Mary and the other half-siblings were there too.
9. As was Jesus’ “custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.” (16)
10. The “book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.”
11. He opened the book to Isaiah 61 and read all of verse one and the first half of verse two. (17)
Transition – From these verses we learn that this is The Favorable Year of the Lord because. . .
I. Jesus is Our Year of Jubilee
• Let me explain what I mean when I say, “Jesus is Our Year of Jubilee” and how it is related to Isaiah 61:1-2.
• In the Bible, the phrase, “THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD” is a reference to the Year of Jubilee.
• Leviticus 25 introduces us to the Year of Jubilee for the first time.
• God commanded that every seventh year was a year of rest, a “Sabbatical year” for Israel so that the land could rest.
• Every fiftieth year, after seven Sabbaticals, was set apart as the “Year of Jubilee.”
• According to Warren Wiersbe, “The main purpose of this special year was the balancing of the economic system.”
o All slaves were set free and went home to their families.
o Any property that had been sold during the previous 49-year period was returned to the original owners.
o All debts were cancelled.
o And the land lay fallow as man and beast rested and rejoiced in the Lord.
• So the Year of Jubilee is a picture of forgiveness, freedom, and rest, a new beginning.
• But it is important to note that under the Law of Moses, debts started accruing again on the first day after the Year of Jubilee was over.
• And that debt continued to grow until the next Year of Jubilee.
• So the Year of Jubilee was a reset, but it was not a permanent one.
• It is a picture of and pointed to a greater Year of Jubilee when the favor of the Lord was permanently given to God’s people.
Transition – And in Luke 4, Jesus declared that He is the One who inaugurated the divine Year of Jubilee, the Favorable Year of the Lord because. . .
A. Jesus is qualified to be our Jubilee
1. The Jewish rabbis believed Isaiah 61 referred to the Messiah and the people in the synagogue that day did so as well.
2. According to Isaiah 61:1, the Messiah would be uniquely anointed by the Holy Spirit.
3. Last week, we noted in our study that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
Colossians 2:9, For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form
4. When humanity was added to Christ’s deity at the Incarnation, the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ remained fully God but set aside His use of His deity.
Philippians 2:6, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped
5. What Paul means here is that as God, Jesus had all the rights of deity but during the Incarnation, He surrendered His right to manifest Himself visibly as the God of all splendor and glory.
6. So the Holy Spirit uniquely anointed Jesus and empowered Him to confirm that He is the promised Messiah.
Acts 10:38, You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God
anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and
how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
7. When Jesus declared “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,” He was referring to when the Holy Spirit came upon Him at His baptism. (3:21-22)
8. Again, this unique anointing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit was a confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah.
APPL – Therefore, Jesus Christ is qualified to be our Jubilee.
• He fulfilled Messianic prophesy.
• Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life.
• He died on the cross and rose again.
• And Jesus was confirmed to be Messiah through the miracles He performed by the unique empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Transition – But Jesus is not only qualified to be our Jubilee. . .
B. Jesus is able to give us Jubilee
1. Jesus Christ is qualified, willing, and able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves; give us Jubilee blessings.
2. Notice what the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus Christ to do.
3. First, to preach the Gospel to the poor.
a. The term poor refers to the pious poor and reveals Jesus’ desire to reach out to those the world tends to forget or abuse.
b. Jesus is qualified, willing, and able to bring Jubilee into their lives.
4. Second, Jesus came to preach release to the captives.
a. The word release is a comprehensive release, both in a physical and in a spiritual sense.
b. Throughout Jesus’ ministry and to this day, He releases those held captive by the devil and by the nefarious devices of this corrupt world.
Acts 2:38, Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
5. Third, Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind.
a. This recovery of sight means more than the miraculous restoring of physical sight.
b. It speaks of a deeper spiritual reality.
c. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied that the Messiah, Jesus Christ would do just that.
Luke 1:77-79, To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
ILLUS – The famous verse from the famous hymn, Amazing Grace, says it perfectly, “I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.”
6. Fourth, the essence of Jesus Christ’s ministry as our Jubilee is expressed in the phrase to set free.
a. Jesus will do what no nation has ever done; truly liberate His people.
b. The word translated set free is the same word translated release earlier.
c. The word oppressed speaks of those who are not merely politically oppressed or economically oppressed.
d. Again, it speaks of deeper reality for those oppressed by the sin within.
e. Jesus spoke of His ability to set free those oppressed by the devil and the sin within in John 10:10.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it
7. Fifth, Jesus came to proclaim The Favorable Year of the Lord.
a. Jesus was saying that the year of total forgiveness of debt, freedom, and rest, is now a picture of our salvation.
b. Jesus was saying that He had come to proclaim that God was ready to forgive sin totally and permanently.
c. Jesus not only proclaims liberty; He also brings liberation because He is our liberation.
d. All our debt is forgiven in Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:13-14, When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
ILLUS – Again, I love the old hymn, Jesus Paid it All. The refrain says it well, Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
APPL – Jesus Christ is our Jubilee.
• Jesus Christ is qualified to be our Jubilee.
• And Jesus Christ is able to give us Jubilee.
II. Jubilee is Found in No One Else
• All eyes were on Jesus as He closed the scroll, handed it to the attendant, and sat down.
• I am sure you could hear a pin drop as the people wondered what words would fall from His lips.
• Jesus opened His mouth and said the most wonderful words, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (21)
• Here, Jesus was declaring that He is the promised Messiah and He was offering an eternal year of Jubilee.
• No one else is qualified to or able to offer what Jesus Christ offers because salvation is found in no one else but Him.
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
• Now that is an amazing first sermon!
Transition – How did the people respond? Their response reveals an important principle for us. . .
A. We must recognize our need for Jubilee
1. It appeared that the people appreciated what Jesus had said.
2. But when you dig deeper, it becomes clear that while they were not rejecting the message, they were rejecting the Messenger when they asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (22)
3. In essence, they were saying, “We like what Jesus has to say because we like hearing that God is giving us a Jubilee.”
4. “But how can Jesus do this?”
a. “He is just a carpenter’s Son.”
b. “We watched Him grow up.”
c. “There is nothing impressive about Him.”
d. “Jesus needs to either prove it or shut up!”
5. The prophet Isaiah prophesied their response and the response of Israel as a whole 700 years earlier.
Isaiah 53:1-3, Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
6. Jesus’ response confirms their “Prove it” attitude when He quotes the proverb, “Physician, heal yourself!” and give us a miraculous sign like we have heard You have done in Capernaum.
7. Then Jesus calls out their unwillingness to recognize Him as Messiah because their pride and familiarity had blinded them.
8. It was not the first time that the eyes of God’s people had been blinded by the sin within.
9. Jesus points to another time, during one of the darkest periods in Israel’s history, when divine judgment was upon the nation because of their sin.
10. Yet, during that time God poured out His favor upon the Gentiles through the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
a. During three and a half years of famine, God sent Elijah to a widow to meet her needs though there were many other widows in Israel. (1 Kings 17-18)
b. And during the ministry of Elisha, God healed an enemy of Israel, Naaman, who was a captain in the Syrian army, and also a leper. God healed Naaman of his leprosy though there were many other lepers in Israel. (2 Kings 5:1-14)
11. Jesus’ point was not missed.
a. Though Israel may miss the blessing of this divine Jubilee, others would be blessed.
b. God’s work would go on without them.
c. The choice was theirs to make.
12. The crowd was furious; rage filled their hearts. (28)
a. To them, Jesus was a false prophet.
b. And He must suffer the fate of all false prophets, death.
13. If you visit Nazareth today, you can see that Luke’s description of the town is accurate. (29)
a. It is built on the side of a hill.
b. And you can see the cliff where the crowd took Jesus to throw Him off.
14. But they did not execute Jesus that day. He would die one day, but not that day, for that day in Nazareth was not the appointed time for “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” to die. (John 1:29)
15. He miraculously walked through their midst and left for Capernaum, which became His new hometown. (30-31)
APPL – What happened in Nazareth? Why did the people miss the opportunity to enter the divine Jubilee?
Jeremiah 5:21, Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see; who have ears but do not hear.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) notes, “There is none so blind as they who won’t see.”
• Faith in Jesus Christ brings us Jubilee.
• God gives us a choice and He will respect the choice we make.
• But to reject Jesus Christ is to reject the only One who can give us the divine Jubilee.
Transition – Now, here is a special word for those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior; “Do not let anyone take your Jubilee.”
B. Do not let anyone take your Jubilee
1. By saying that I am not implying that someone can take away your salvation because no one can take away what God has given.
Romans 11:29, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
2. But I am suggesting that once you have received Jesus Christ, your divine Jubilee, you can be robbed of the joy of your salvation if you allow it to be so.
3. That’s why Paul was so strong in his letter to the Christians in Galatia.
Galatians 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
APPL – This is the Favorable Year of the Lord.
• God’s favor rests on all who have received Jesus Christ, our eternal Jubilee.
• Our debt has been paid.
• Our sin is forgiven.
• We have been given the gift of eternal life.
• We have so much to be thankful for.
• Do not let anyone rob you of your Jubilee.
APPL – Are you burdened tonight? Have you lost the joy of your Jubilee?
• Please come to Jesus Christ.
• Are you discouraged this evening?
• Please come to Jesus Christ.
• He will forgive your sin.
• He will take your burden.
• He will put a new song in your heart, a reason to rejoice, because He gives a greater grace and His love is an everlasting love.
• In fact, tonight, Jesus Christ is inviting you to do just that, to come to Him and enter into His Jubilee.
• There you will find freedom and rest.
Matthew 11:28-30, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Luke 4:14-30 NASB
14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding region. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. And He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
20 And He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all the people in the synagogue were intently directed at Him. 21 Now He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your [a]hearing.” 22 And all the people were [b]speaking well of Him, and admiring the [c]gracious words which were coming from His [d]lips; and yet they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will [e]quote this proverb to Me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! All the miracles that we heard were done in Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 But He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. 25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a [f]severe famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to [g]Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many with leprosy in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was [h]cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and brought Him to the [i]crest of the hill on which their city had been built, so that they could throw Him down from the cliff. 30 But He passed through their midst and went on His way.