The year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25 is the year in which all property is returned to its original owner and all slaves are released. This year would occur every 50 years and acted as a blank slate for all the people of Israel. If one was falling on hard times and was forced to sell a portion of their land it would then be returned to them in the year of Jubilee.
Isaiah references this year of jubilee when he speaks of the coming of the Messiah in Isaiah 61. Isaiah says that when the Messiah comes it will bring about the year of the "Lord's favor". Jesus then confirms that this prophecy was referencing him in Luke 4. This makes sense considering the nature of the work of salvation in that it brings about a blank slate for all who believe.
Depending on who you are and what your life looks like you might have a different reaction to this blank slate. For instance, if you've robbed a convenience store and get arrested a pardon from the judge would be a welcomed blank slate. Anyone in need of a blank slate would welcome a blank slate with joy and gladness but what if you didn't want a blank slate. For instance, I remember a long night in college when I was typing out a 10 page paper, in a moment of exhaustion I accidentally closed my document without saving it. I was left with a blank slate but needless to say I was not thrilled with the blank page staring back at me.
Two stories that jump out in the gospels as being polar opposites are the stories of the rich young ruler (Matt 19) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19). When the rich young ruler approaches Jesus he asks Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus eventually tells him that he must give up all of his possessions to the poor. The man walked away saddened because he had great wealth. The story of Zacchaeus begins with a tax collector humiliating himself by climbing a tree to see Jesus through a crowd. Jesus then invites himself over to Zacchaeus' house where the man repents of his sin and offers to give everyone that he has wronged their money back and more.
Jesus offered both of these men blank slates but only one came to salvation. The biggest difference between these two stories is that one man acknowledged his need for a blank slate and the other didn't want anything to do with a blank slate. I think if we are truly honest with ourselves we can relate to both men. In one way we know that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and a pardon but in another way we've worked so hard for the life we have it seems foolish to give it up for Christ.
The benefit of following Christ is that we get a fresh start to live a life with him in freedom and joy. The cost of following Christ is laying aside our lives and following him. My hope for all of us is that we acknowledge the simple fact that the benefit far outweighs the cost.
From the Desk of Pastor Levi