Restore Hope, Part 1

Isaiah 61
Broadcast Featured Image

We explore a fascinating aspect of God’s law that, despite its profound compassion for the poor, has never been enacted in history. Join us as we unpack the reasons behind this and discover the person anointed to finally bring this divine proclamation to fruition.

In the programme, Pastor Colin takes us through a powerful message titled “Restore Hope,” examining the year of the Lord’s favour – a concept from Isaiah that finds its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus Christ. Pastor Colin explains how Christ’s mission embodied the spirit of the jubilee that Israel never observed, freeing us from spiritual debts, releasing us from sin’s hold, and restoring our lost inheritance.

As we navigate these rich biblical narratives, the message emphasises the compassion of Jesus and the hope that shines brightly through His sacrificial love and grace. If you’re seeking encouragement and a deeper understanding of your faith, take this opportunity to tune in and open your Bible to Isaiah chapters 61 and 63, ready to be transformed by the powerful insights Pastor Colin shares.

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Part 1

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God says someone’s going to come who’s anointed to preach good news to the poor,

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in verse 2 this person is going to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,

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he’s going to sound the trumpet, he’s going to bring in the jubilee

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that has never once happened in all the history of Israel.

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Welcome to Open the Bible with Pastor Colin Smith. I’m David

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Peck and Colin that raises the question God said that was going to happen,

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but it didn’t actually happen. Why was that?

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Well because it was so costly. I mean this to me is one of the marvellous stories of the Old

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Testament. God’s law that every seven years all debts were to be released,

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all slaves were to be set free and all inheritances that had been lost were to be restored.

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This is to happen, but people aren’t going to do that because it’s going to cost too much.

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And so all through the history of the Old Testament these

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wonderful, wonderful laws that reflect God’s compassion for the poor and for those in need,

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they’re never enacted until Jesus Christ comes into the world and says I’ll do it because I’m

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prepared to pay the price, which of course he did. And so this speaks to us today about how

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marvellous the grace of God is. It shines the light on just how much Jesus Christ has done

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and why he’s different from any other person who’s ever lived.

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Because of that we have a hope which you’re going to see in our message today, so I hope

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you’ll be able to open your Bible to Isaiah chapter 61 as we begin our message Restore Hope,

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here’s Colin. Today we’re going to look in isaiah chapter 61 and 63 at two visions of our Lord

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Jesus Christ that are recorded there. The first in chapter 61 tells us what has happened through

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coming into the world. The second in chapter 63 tells us what will happen when he comes again

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in power and in glory. Now I want us to see then the two visions of Jesus Christ that are

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given to Isaiah the prophet. The first is that we find hope in the Lord Jesus Christ because he is

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our marvelous, compassionate savior. That’s where your hope begins and that’s where mine begins too.

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Notice what Isaiah says chapter 61. The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me

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to preach good news to the poor he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted and to proclaim

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freedom from the captives’ release from darkness for prisoners, and to proclaim

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the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God. Now, you need to know

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one or two things from the Bible in order to understand what Isaiah is talking about.

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Back earlier in the old testament, God had given some marvelous laws for the protection of the poor.

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Now if you’re ever in a discussion with someone who is antagonistic towards Christianity,

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this is the sort of thing that you need to know and to bring out in that discussion.

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Did you know that in God’s law in the old testament, every seven years, all debts were

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to be cancelled? That’s Leviticus chapter 15 and verse 1, imagine if that happened in this country,

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how many people would be happy if visa and MasterCard every seven years cancelled

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all debts, just wrote them off, said we’re back to zero! It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

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. That’s what God’s law said was to happen in Israel. Second,

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every 7 years, all slaves were to be released. That’s Leviticus chapter 25 and also chapter 15.

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That was very important because of course when some people were in a position of being unable

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to pay off debt and they were still within the seven year period, what they would do in order

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to honorably fulfill their commitment was that they would work for someone to whom they owed

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money. They would sell their labor in other words as a way of paying off their debt.

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Now, God honored this as a reasonable way for a person to maintain their integrity and to fulfill

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their responsibilities. But God said, that kind of service, the paying off debt kind of service

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is never to last more than seven years. Now, it’s a fascinating thing that God created this cycle,

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the seven year cycle in order to protect the poor. See, however much you redistribute wealth

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in any society, there will always be some who make better use of it, and some who make worse use of

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it. So that if in America today we could give everyone exactly the same resource seven years

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from now some would have more and some would have less. Some would steward it well, some would

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steward it poorly. And therefore the problem of poverty is always with us. There will always be

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a need that is recognized in the Law of God to relieve the particular needs of the poor.

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That’s why Jesus said the poor you will have with you always. This will always be an issue

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in human society. And God’s law provides for the relief of, compassion towards,

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help for the poor in a radical way. All debts cancelled. All slaves released every

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seven years. By the way you know the kind of person who wants to blame Christians for everything.

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And if you ever heard someone say you know Christianity of course that just supports

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slavery. If you get that you just say to that person what do you think of God’s

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anti-slavery laws in the Old Testament? I guarantee you they’ll look blank. And

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then you can point them to the book of Leviticus and say actually the law of God

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is uniquely in any culture directed towards the relief of poverty

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and towards the help of those who’ve got themselves tied up and bound

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in situations they cannot get out of. There never was any other culture

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either then or since that has had any laws remotely like this.

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They are marvelous laws for the relief of the poor. Only the God of the Bible

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would legislate like this. Now there’s a third law the relief of all debt the

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release of all slaveries. There’s a third law that was the best of all.

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And here I’d like to invite you to turn back to Leviticus and chapter

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25 so that you can see it for yourself.

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This is the law that related to the Year of Jubilee.

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It’s Leviticus and chapter 25 and it begins in verse 8

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You notice that God says there count off seven sabbaths of years

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in other words seven times seven years so that the seven sabbaths of years

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amount to a period of 49 years. So there’s this cycle in which debt is

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released and slaves are released every seven years

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and God says this is now to happen seven times and that takes you to 49 years.

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Then, verse 9, have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh

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month, on the day of atonement sound the trumpet throughout the land.

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Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its

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inhabitants it shall be a jubilee for you. Each one of you is to return to his

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own family property and you can read on the legislation about this remarkable

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jubilee year that God said was to happen among his people every lifetime,

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once every 50 years. Now the significance of this was that of course when God’s

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people came into the promised land. You remember God gave to each tribe and each

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family a portion of the land. There was land that was given to each family, tribe, clan

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apportioned by God as their inheritance. Over the years, it would in the course of life become

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necessary for some folks to sell their land but once in every lifetime, on the 50th year,

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God says the land must be returned to the original owners. It must go back to the family of origin.

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It must go back to the line to which it was given by God. Now what that meant of course

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that land in Israel could only be owned on a leasehold basis and if you want to follow

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it through you’ll see in verses 15, 16 and 17 how this worked. What it meant was that the value,

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or the price, of a piece of land was determined by where you were in the 50-year cycle. If you

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were in year 47, 48 or 49 then the price of lands being sold would be quite low, because it would

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only be one, two or three years until it went back to the seller, and therefore only a few years of

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crops before it returned. If land was being sold a couple of years after the Jubilee the price would

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be much higher, because there would be you know 48, 49, 50 years of crops that could be raised

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on that land before it would be returned. And so verse 15, God says you’re to buy from your

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countrymen on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. Verse 16, when the years are

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many you increase the price, when the years are few, you decrease the price, because what you’re

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really selling is the number of crops, the land always ultimately belong to God. So verse 17,

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don’t take advantage of each other, but fear your God, I am the Lord your God.

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Now put these together, every 7 years you blank out all debts,

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every 7 years you release all slaves and once in every lifetime, once every 50 years,

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land that has been bought or sold all returns to the original family of origin,

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the original owners. These are marvelously compassionate laws. They placed a check

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among God’s people on the growing power of those who had accumulated wealth,

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they made sure that the children of wealthy people did not kind of float through life on

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massive accumulated inheritance but rather had to find their own way and earned like everybody else

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and they gave a new start most of all to the poor and the oppressed and it happened once in every

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lifetime. Now, I want us to understand here that no other culture had laws remotely like this,

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no other country has ever had laws like these but God says to his people you’re my people

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and this is what I’m telling you to do. Now, let’s take a step back, how would you have

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liked to live under these laws? See, you got to think about that because a lot depends on

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whether you would happen to be a borrower or whether you would happen to be a lender.

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These laws were great for debtors, but these laws were incredibly costly for creditors.

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Now, God gave these laws to Moses remember for his Old Testament people when they were in the

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land of Israel and he’s telling them what they’re to do when they inherit the Promise

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Land coming in to Canaan. And he says when you come into the Promise Land here is what

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you are to do, every 50 years sound the trumpet and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

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Now, how often do you think this happened? Answer? Never. Nada. Not once.

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Not once. A couple of great Hebrew historians who’ve done great research into this make

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this comment in a book, The Feasts of the Lord, that is no historical record, either

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in the Bible or beyond the Bible, of Israel ever once observing the Jubilee year. And

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it’s not difficult to work out why, is it? The folks with the power were also the folks

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with the money. It always seems to work out like that. And when the folks with the power

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who are also the folks with the money look at what the Jubilee’s actually going to

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cost them, they say, let’s not sound the trumpet. We’ll do it in seven years, and

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so the trumpet never sounded. God’s people never once obeyed this law.

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You’re listening to Open the Bible with Pastor Colin Smith and our message today called,

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Restore Hope, is part of a wider series called RestoreMySoul. And if you’ve missed any

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of the series or you’d like to go back and listen again, I encourage you to do that

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by coming online to our website openthebible.org.uk. There you can hear any of the messages we’ve

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already gone out on air. You’ll also find us as a podcast on your favourite podcast

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site, either follow the link on our website or go to directly to your favourite podcast

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search for Open The Bible UK and subscribe to receive regular updates. Back to the message

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now, we’re in Isaiah 61 and here’s Colin.

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which is why the Old Testament prophets are so scathing on the way in which the rich were

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oppressing the poor.

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They simply systematically ignored the law of God when it was going to be costly to them.

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Now, none of this should surprise us, because you only need to think about the implementation

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of these laws and you quickly realize they could only work in a community of people who

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really loved God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and loved their neighbor

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as much as themselves.

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And Old Testament Israel wasn’t that society.

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And there never has been a culture where this has been put into operation.

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What God’s perfect law does, is it shows us our own inner selfishness.

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It shows us what we really are and it proves how much we need to be redeemed.

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So now back to Isaiah 61 and as the poor or oppressed and as the insensitivity towards

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their need continue, generation after generation, God says someone’s going to come who’s anointed

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to preach good news to the poor. In verse 2, this person is going to proclaim the year

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of the Lord’s favor. He’s going to send the trumpet. He’s going to bring in the jubilee

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that has never once happened in all the history of Israel. Well, of course, that raises the

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question, who is he talking about? Well, now would you turn forward in your Bible to Luke’s

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Gospel in Chapter 4. This’ll be familiar to many of us I think. Luke’s gospel in Chapter

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4. Because it’s very significant that the Lord Jesus Christ chose these words for my

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Isaiah to launch his own public ministry. Chapter 4 in verse 17. Try and picture the

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setting. The Lord Jesus Christ is in the synagogue. In verse 17 the scroll of the prophet Isaiah

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is handed to Jesus. Unrolling it, he’s finds, so he chose the reading. He finds the place

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where it is written the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me in the

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for me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor and to proclaim, verse

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19, the Year of God’s Favor. So Jesus applies this to himself. The spirit of the Lord is

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on me, he’s saying. To proclaim the year of God’s favor, to bring in the jubilee that

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has never once been known in all the history of God’s people. Then following what it says,

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Jesus rolled up the scroll and he gave it back to the attendant and sat down in the

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aisles of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him and he began first public utterance

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of Jesus. He began by saying, today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. It’s marvelous.

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Christ says they haven’t proclaimed the jubilee once. You know what, they never will but I

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will do it. I have come to proclaim the year of God’s favor. In other words, Jesus is saying,

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I have come to do for you what you would never do for each other. To cancel every debt that

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you owe to God. To set you free from the slavery that you know to the power of sin and Satan

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and to give back to you the inheritance that Adam lost, that is the inheritance of joy

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and life in his presence forever and forever. That is the promise of the gospel. It is the

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most marvelous good news. But remember, when you think about the year of God’s favor that

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is such a blessing to us that we celebrate in our worship every week, it comes at an

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incredible cost to Him. If you write off a debt you incur a loss in the amount of that

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debt yourself. And when Jesus comes to proclaim the Jubilee and to write off all our debts

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towards God, it means that God is incurring that debt in himself. And this is why Jesus

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went to the cross. He bore the loss to cancel our debts, to set us free, and to restore

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our inheritance. God cancelling debts. God freeing slaves. God restoring inheritances

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in Christ. That’s the gospel. Now I want you to notice, and this is marvellous

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when you see it, I want you to notice if you look between Luke chapter 4 and back to Isaiah

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chapter 61, I want you to notice where Jesus stopped in his reading on that Sabbath when

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he inaugurated his public ministry. Let’s look at chapter 61 and verse 2. The

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anointed one will proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of

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our God. Turn over to Luke chapter 4 and you see where Jesus stopped to proclaim verse

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19, the year of the Lord’s favour, period. In other words, when Jesus was reading from

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the scroll he stopped mid sentence. He stopped halfway through what Isaiah was saying. You

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see, why in all the world, when Jesus was choosing the reading, did he stop in the middle

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of a sentence and say, I’ve come to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour? Why didn’t

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he finish the sentence? Because he went on to say today this scripture is fulfilled in

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your hearing. And thank God that when Jesus came into the world, born as a baby, through

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his death and through his resurrection, he brought in the year of the Lord’s favour.

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He did not, at that time, bring in the day of God’s vengeance. I say thank God for that,

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because if Jesus had brought in the day of God’s vengeance in his first coming into the

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world, none of us would be here today. The world as we know it would have ended 2,000

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years ago in a blitz of God’s judgement. So Jesus stops halfway through what Isaiah says

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– mid-sentence. I’m the compassionate saviour, that’s coming to bring this freedom from

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debt and release from slavery to sin and to restore inheritance. You say, well what about

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the day of God’s vengeance? Well Jesus spoke about that too. John chapter 5 and verse 28,

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he said a time is coming when those who are in their graves will hear the voice of God

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and those who’ve done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to

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be condemned. Jesus said that time is coming. It has not come yet. So Isaiah sees this coming

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anointed one, bringing both the year of God’s favor and the day of God’s vengeance, almost

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like looking at a mountain, and you think it’s one mountain, actually it’s two mountains,

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one behind the other, and we’re living right in between times, in the day of God’s favor,

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not yet having reached the day of God’s vengeance. What a great reminder there that our hope

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as Christians is in Jesus Christ, He is our compassionate Savior. And that’s the first

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part of our message, Restore Hope, it’s a part of our series, Restore My Soul, and if

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you’ve missed any of the series, do feel you can come back and listen again on our website

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openthebible.org.uk or search out our podcast that’s available on any of the podcasting

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sites. Just search for Open the Bible UK. Also on our website is Open the Bible Daily

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and that’s a series of short, two to three minute reflections based on Pastor Collins’

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teaching and read in the UK by Sue McLeish, and I hope you’ll be able to join us next

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time for the second part of Restore Hope.

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Open the Bible is supported entirely by our listeners and if that’s something you’ve been

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considering doing then this month we have a great offer for you. If you’re able to set

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up a new donation to the work of Open the Bible in the amount of £5 per month or more

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we’d love to say thank you by sending you a copy of C. H. Spurgeon’s book Encouragement

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for the Depressed. Colin who’s this book for?

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Well this book is really for anyone who is discouraged or going through a dark time and

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I can’t imagine that there’s any Christian who doesn’t experience that at some point

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in life. What’s so striking to me about this book is that it’s written by a man who was

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known for his extraordinary faith. The spirit of God rested on the life and ministry of

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C. H. Spurgeon and yet he knew what it was to go through times of extraordinary darkness

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and even a sense of despair at some points. You know he suffered from smallpox, gout,

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rheumatism, inflammation of the kidneys and his wife was bedridden for decades. I mean

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this man really knew what it was to suffer and yet he found in all of this that he was

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forced closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. I love what he says. He says, I’ve learned to

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kiss the waves that throw me up against the rock of ages. I love that. Kiss the waves

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that throw me up against the rock of ages. Here’s biblical wisdom from a man of faith

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who knew what it was to really struggle in dark times and I have found his writing to

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be wonderfully encouraging, refreshing, and uplifting, and that’s why I’m really grateful

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that we have the opportunity of getting this book out this month. C H Spurgeon’s book,

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Encouragement for the Depressed, is our gift to you if you are able to set up a new donation

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to the work of Open the Bible this month in the amount of five pounds per month or more.

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Full details and to give online, go to our website, openthebible.org.uk. For Open the

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Bible and Pastor Colin Smith, I’m David Pink and I hope you’ll join us again, next time.

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One of the laws God gave Israel was never kept, and nor could it be kept today. Find

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out why and what God did about it. That’s next time on Open the Bible.

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Colin Smith

Trustee / Founder and Teaching Pastor

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near – So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on X formerly Twitter.

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Sermons on Isaiah What if your heart cried out to God? What if all our hearts cried out for revival? The church and the world would never be the same. In these sermons on Isaiah, you’ll discover nine heart-cries for revival. Each one is an expression of God’s heart for His people. As they become

Colin Smith

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