Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Why Indeed?

Isaiah 61:1-2  “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,

Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,

And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.


Spring Time

Spring has arrived where I live.  The magnolia trees are blooming, the tulips and daffodils are beginning to brighten the drab landscape of winter, we hear the birds singing again; and we can hear the water in our babbling brooks.  Sometimes a person can actually smell the fresh air of spring.  Spring can be exhilarating.  It holds the promise of a new beginning. 


The Acceptable Year of the Lord

In Luke 4:18-19 the Lord begins His public ministry in Nazareth by quoting from Isaiah 61.  He says he came to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and He closed the book without reading about the day of vengeance of our God.  The acceptable year of the Lord seems to contain all the blessings of the Jubilee year mentioned in Leviticus 25.  The Jews had a calendar that included a Sabbath year every seven years when debts and the Israelite slaves were released.  There was to be no sowing or reaping by the landlord.  They lived off of what the land produced voluntarily.   On the fiftieth year, property went back to its original families.  The fiftieth year may have followed a seventh year of release but more likely the fiftieth year and the year of release were one and the same in that cycle of seven sevens.  But nevertheless, an Israelite that had gotten into debt or that had sold himself or his family as slaves or who had lost their property would be made whole again by the end of that fiftieth year. 


This fiftieth year blessings were being offered to the nation of Israel when the Lord began His earthly ministry.  And those blessings are offered to everyone today who will trust the Lord.  Normally we link the acceptable year of the Lord with the coming thousand year reign of Christ and of course that will be a jubilee or a celebration of joy.  We sometimes link the acceptable year of the Lord with the coming of the Lord for the church when He saves the believer from the “wrath to come (1 Thessalonian 1:10).”  Notice that the Lord closed the book before reading about the day of vengeance which is coming as well.  But the Lord didn’t come for the purpose of vengeance or retribution when He came the first time.  That will occur when He comes the second time.


The Order of His Commission

Normally we who study the Bible and the different ways that God has governed down through the ages believe that the tribulation period which is still future precedes the thousand year reign of Christ.  But here in Luke 4 the “acceptable year of the Lord” occurs before the coming wrath or tribulation period.  Now I still think that the “acceptable year of the Lord” in Isaiah 61 refers to the Jubilee year of Leviticus 25.  I believe that Leviticus 25 will be literally fulfilled in the thousand year righteous reign of the Lord.  However, the reversal of the order of events in Luke 4 convinces me that there is a spiritual kingdom that we can enter into now through the new birth (See John 3:3).  And spiritually, the blessings of the Jubilee year can be ours now.  This shows us that there is a difference between that which is spiritual for the Christian now and that which is temporal and physical for the nations in a coming day. 



Can you imagine what an indebted, imprisoned, bankrupt, broken-hearted Israelite would feel as he or she anticipated the release of that fiftieth year as well as the partial releases of each seventh year.  The Lord had provided for second chances.  Things that had gone wrong were to be made right.  Those who were broken-hearted could look forward to joy and hope. It would be better than the blessings of spring.  And that is what the Lord was offering the nation in Luke 4.  Foreigners entered into those blessings before Israelites in many cases.  The nation as a whole rejected the Lord.  They lost the blessings that the Lord was offering and now as a nation they have to face the “day of vengeance of our God.” 


What about Us?

Why would anyone think that trusting the Lord would bring them a curse instead of a blessing?  Why would anyone turn their back on the spiritual spring or year of jubilee that the Lord came to proclaim?  Why indeed?


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of April 19, 2015

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