The Year of the Lord’s Favor

Allen Whittenburg is pastor of the Abundant Life Tabernacle in Exeter.

Earlier this year the Lord gave me a word for our congregation that may seem counterintuitive when one considers the state of our nation’s economy. The Word I received from the Lord was from Luke 4:19. It declares that “This is the Year of the Lord’s Favor.”

With that in mind, it is a fact that most of us want to find favor with the people around us. Some people feel that they have to find favor with everyone. That can lead to serious problems “internally” when a person finds out that they can’t please, or “find favor,” with everyone. Often, this helps with our maturity process. Because then we begin to form relationships with people with whom we do find favor. However, if we’re not careful and prayerful, we can develop a chip on our shoulder and become angry with everybody, simply because a few people did not like or agree with us. The result is that we tend to treat all others badly in response to the “cold shoulder” we received at the hands of a few people.

The really cool thing about God is that through Jesus Christ we have the favor of God. We do not have to try to earn God’s Favor. He extended it to mankind through the birth of His only Son, Jesus Christ. We are “saved by grace” through faith. And not by anything else except God’s Favor! (Grace!) Ephesians 2:8-9 expresses this quite well.

It is extremely important that we realize that Jesus “never” rescinded “The Year of the Lord’s Favor.” You cannot find anywhere in the Bible that Jesus ever cancelled it. However, what you can find is grace! You can find grace everywhere in the New Testament. Grace actually means “unmerited favor.” It is a favor that none of us deserve, and that none of us could ever earn!

The most dynamic thing about “The Year of The Lord’s Favor” is that it means that mankind is “acceptable” to God! If I restate this topic of the Lord’s Favor, it means that God’s “pre-disposition” toward mankind is one of love, not disgust; kindness, and not hatred; acceptance, and not rejection.

Disclaimer: Most of us knew this was coming. God’s Favor, and in particular, The Year of the Lord’s Favor, is “accessed” by asking Jesus Christ to become our personal Savior and Lord. Without asking Jesus to become our Savior, we cannot know the “fullness” of the Year of the Lord’s Favor.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus instituted a “Jubilee” for all of mankind, or the Year of the Lord’s Favor. As you may recall from the Old Testament, every fifty years there was a Jubilee. This meant that “all” debts were forgiven. Every debt was erased completely, and a person got a “brand new start,” with no debt whatsoever!

The amazing discovery of Luke 4:19 is that through Jesus “all debts” are forgiven! Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean car loans, home loans, or credit card debt. But it does mean sin debt! There’s a big difference! In the Old Testament land was returned, slaves were returned, and all debts accumulated during the past 49 years were forgiven in the 50th year, called Jubilee, (Leviticus 25:10).

What does this mean for us today? What I hear the Lord saying to me is this: Jesus will not only forgive all of our sin, but The Year of The Lord’s Favor will be a year “different” from our past years. It will be a year of special blessings and special revelation from the Holy Spirit.

Be attentive to the Holy Spirit, and do not become distracted by things which “seem” contrary to the promise of Jesus. “This Is the Year of the Lord’s Favor.” Believe it. Walk in it.

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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