After the exodus of the Israelites, God met Moses on Mount Sinai to give him the Mosaic Law. God instructed that every 50 years—a generation—should mark an end to oppression: the year of Jubilee. Slaves were set free, and debts forgiven. Farmers rested from their toil. Property reverted back to its original owner. People who’d been forced to sell themselves in order to survive, having spent years in bondage, were reconciled to their families and were able to start anew.
It was truly a time of restoration.
At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, He spoke to a crowd, quoting Scripture related to the Jubilee. In Luke 4, we read how Jesus went into the synagogue, proclaiming: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." His reference to the "acceptable year of the Lord" is a Biblical synonym for the Jubilee year.
In 2018, we at Tearfund will celebrate our 50th anniversary, and we are declaring it a year of Jubilee.
Why? Because Jesus, motivated by His life-transforming love, gave Himself to restore relationships. God calls us daily to be a channel of this same love. It’s this love that drives us forward and strengthens our determination to end extreme poverty. And in response to this love, we follow Jesus where the need is greatest.
His love goes on and on, and it carries us with it.