|THE YEAR OF OUR LORD'S FAVOR
LUKE 4:14-30 - part three
Series: Released - Part Three
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
December 14, 2008
was what day?
December 7th. The anniversary of the
attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s a day when we
remember those that’ve stood on the line to defend
the freedoms that we enjoy - those that have died
on that line.
It’s a day when we remember that those
freedoms come with a cost. Those
freedoms are very unique in this world - and very
In 1886 -
this statute named what? - “Liberty
Enlightening the World” - in 1886 this statue
designed by Frederic Bartholdi - was erected near
the entrance to New York Harbor. How many
of you have been to the Statue of Liberty?
On a plaque
on the pedestal are the familiar words of Emma
Lazarus - words that are symbolic of why people -
our families - why they’ve come to America. “Give me your tired, your poor, your
huddled masses yearning to breath free, the wretched
refuse of your teeming shore. Send
these, the homeless, tempest tossed, to me: I lift my
lamp beside the golden door.” Masses yearning for liberty.
On the Tablet
of the Law held in the statue’s left hand is what
4, 1776 - Reminding us of the words of The
Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Hang on to that word
liberty - being free.
Over the last
few Sundays we’ve been looking at Luke 4:14-30. If you
haven’t yet turned there please do so and join us
there - Luke 4 - starting at verse 14.
We’ve been thinking
about the society that we’re living in - which is
becoming increasingly indifferent to God - anti-God
- and anti God’s people. Where the core values of a
healthy moral society are increasingly non-existent. We’ve
been thinking about how all that effects us. Often
times - effecting us negatively - spiritually -
physically - emotionally. And yet our relationship with
Jesus should be what drives our attitudes and
actions - how we respond to what’s around us.
What we’ve been
focusing on - what we’re coming to here in Luke 4 -
is thinking through together the reality of Immanuel
- God with us - who Jesus is - the implications of
His coming for our lives - especially as we live
life where we live our lives.
Luke 4 -
starting at verse 14:
returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and
a report about Him went out through all the
And He taught in their synagogues, being
glorified - or praised - by all.
As Jesus is beginning His ministry
people were saying good things about Him.
Verse 16: And He - Jesus - came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up - born in Bethlehem - raised in Nazareth - And as was His custom - something Jesus normally did every Sabbath - as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and He stood up to read.
On the other
hand - Jesus proclaims good news which is
Those who are
spiritually impoverished - God meets the deep needs
of their hearts.
The captives are those bound by sin -
condemned by the law - waiting eternal judgment -
the captives are set free - spiritual liberty. The blind
who live in the darkness of this world - the
philosophies and religions and empty reasonings of
man - the spiritually blind see God’s truth - Jesus
the true light - shining in the spiritual darkness
of this world.
The oppressed - who groan in endless slavery
to impurity - to immorality - to addictions and
patterns of life that weary us - defeat us - the
oppressed are set free - spiritual liberty.
Spiritually - in the midst of what this world tries
to abuse us with - to conform us to - to beat us
down with - in the midst of the self-focused at any
cost survival mentality of this world - God offers
each of us something tremendously different. His
approval - His provision for our lives - His healing
- His purpose for us - life in His kingdom - knowing
God and being known by Him. The
freedom - the liberty - that is ours the moment we
come to put our trust in Jesus - God’s Anointed One
- our Savior and Lord.
All that good news is
what we so deeply need today. Yes? Liberty
Then this phrase in verse 19 - that we want to focus on this morning - Jesus is anointed to proclaim the good news - and - “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
To grab the
implications we need to understand what this means: “The year of the Lord’s favor.”
The first thing we need to understand about the phrase - the year of the Lord’s favor - is what Jesus read. Try that together, “What Jesus read.”
At the end of 49 years
- seven Sabbath cycles - 7 times 7 years - the 50th
year was the year of the Lord’s favor. It was
known by two names - the year of Jubilee - or “The
Year of Liberty.”
The year of what? Liberty.
On the 10th
day of the 7th month - what on our calendar comes in
October - on what is called the Day of Atonement -
the 10th day of the 7th month - the Day of Atonement
was a day set aside every year where special
sacrifices were made to atone for the people’s sins.
The idea being that
all the regular ongoing sacrifices took care of all
the regular sins.
But, there were probably sins that hadn’t
been sacrificed for.
So once a year on the Day of Atonement -
everything else that was wrong between God’s people
and God was taken care of. God’s people being made right
Still with me? On the
Day of Atonement - in the 50th year - the year of
what? Liberty. A horn
would be blown announcing the year of the Lord’s
During that year three major things took place. First: the soil was rested - no cultivation. Second: land that had been sold because of debts or poverty - land was returned to the original owner. Third: all the men and their families that had been hired out to another family because of poverty or debt - people who had had to hire themselves out as slaves were set free. Can you imagine this taking place today? (Leviticus 25:8-17)
The year of the Lord’s favor - was really a year when God’s people experienced God’s favor poured out on them. An amazing time of restoration - renewal - blessing - deliverance - freedom from oppression and suffering and captivity - being made right with each other and - especially - being made right before God. All of which was God’s tremendous gift - His favor - to His people.
Coming back to Jesus and the home town crowd in the synagogue - people under the yoke of the Roman Empire - longing for a deliverer - the Anointed One of God - the Messiah - the Christ in Greek - to hear these words read - proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor - would have been to renew their hope that one day God would set His people free.
If we were to go back to Isaiah and compare what Luke records here in Luke 4 - the New Testament - what Jesus reads - compare what Luke records with the text of Isaiah from the Old Testament - the Hebrew Bible - there are some differences between the two.
possible reason - a more probable reason for the
differences - is that Jesus - who is God - the Word
made flesh - Who is at the crux of what this Bible
is all about - Who has every right to treat His word
any way He chooses to treat it as He’s choosing to
communicate His word to us - Jesus uses the text of
Isaiah to emphasize certain points He’s been
teaching the people.
Which may be why He added Isaiah 58:6 to the
But what is really
glaring - really significant - as Jesus is
purposefully using Scripture to teach these people -
is that Jesus omits the last part of Isaiah 61 -
Isaiah 61:2 -
starts off with the phrase “To proclaim the year of the Lord’s
favor” - to which the people are saying, “Amen!”
“May it be so!” “Bring it on!” “God,
we’re with You!”
“We need it now!”
Isaiah 61:2 - goes on to say, “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”
Peter writes about the day of the Lord. Which is the way Scripture describes the end time. It’s the time when Jesus returns. When judgment happens - vengeance. When the world as we know it comes to an end. The evil get toasted.
Jesus doesn’t read the second part of Isaiah 61:2 - because there’s a gap - an interval of time - between the announcement Jesus makes - the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor - God’s offer of liberty - the time period that we’re in now - an interval between than and the coming day of the Lord - the day of God’s judgment - vengeance.
about what this can mean for us today - that
interval between “favor” and “judgment” is where the
church fits - where we fit in. The
theological - been to seminary - name for that
interval is “The Church Age.” Put
The church fits between the Rock - Jesus -
and the hard place - God’s judgment.
God has a purpose for us being here - standing in that gap. To enjoy His favor. But more so - to proclaim His liberty to those who are desperate for it.
The Love Boat promises something for everyone. That’s the expectation. On a cruise ship people sit on deck on comfy chairs and relax and other people serve them - take care of their needs. People gorge themselves on all kinds of great food. Performers entertain us. If the temperature isn’t right in the stateroom - just complain to the steward and it’ll get fixed. Its all about being satisfied with the cruise - enjoying myself - what pleases me.
And if the church fails us - as it must fail - with those kinds of expectations - we either whine and complain - or check out - find another cruise ship - or both. To many - the purpose of being a Christian is to enjoy God’s favor.
In this book - “From Pearl Harbor To Golgotha” Fuchida tells how one day he was given DeShazer’s tract, “I Was A Prisoner Of Japan” - a tract that told of DeShazer's change of heart. From somewhere Fuchida obtained a New Testament. He began to read it with growing interest. Finally, he came to the account of the crucifixion and the words of Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" - Jesus praying for the soldiers who were about to thrust a spear through His side. (Luke 23:34)
Fuchida - liberated by Jesus - became a missionary - shared his testimony all over America. Which is how this book ended up autographed by Fuchida. He signed it - years ago - while speaking here in America - sharing God’s love - God’s favor with his former enemies.
_________________________Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.