“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”
— Leviticus 25:10
As we noted yesterday, God’s gifts of daily bread and Sabbath invited everyone to trust in him. And God poured out abundant blessings to be shared. All of this was designed to prevent poverty. Leviticus 25 explains more about debts being forgiven, freedom for slaves, and property being restored to owners who had sold it to pay off debts. These laws reveal God’s concern for social relationships and the well-being of the community.
Imagine what it was like for people who had lost their land, or who had labored under a burden of debt, to suddenly be able to start again with a clean slate. Millions of people in poverty today long for a fresh beginning like that.
As the year 2000 approached, Christians around the world proposed a kind of modern Jubilee for low-income countries that had been burdened with crippling debt for decades. The proposals were bold and countercultural, but by God’s grace they had a measure of success. Some of the world’s poorest nations were forgiven parts of their debt. And money was freed up to build education and health-care programs.
Early in his ministry, Jesus explained that he was anointed “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” a Jubilee—and, more than that, to fulfill that vision (Luke 4:18-19). In Jesus, we all get a chance to start over.
Lord God, your love and care for us make us long for a more just world, where new beginnings are possible. Guide us, we pray. Amen.