Sabbath and Jubilee Years: Reflecting on Leviticus 25
Today I had the pleasure of contributing to Traci Rhoades’s Lenten email series on the book of Leviticus. I chose to write about Leviticus 25, in which the people of God are commanded to observe two special kinds of years. Below is an excerpt along with a link to the full reflection, where you can also sign up to receive the whole Leviticus series in your inbox.
In this passage, the Lord commands the children of Israel to ritualize two unique kinds of years.
Sabbath years were proclaimed every seventh year to give rest to the land and years of jubilee took place every fiftieth year (or after every seventh Sabbath year) to remit the land back to its original owners.
I’ve often wished for a return to the practice of sabbath and jubilee years.
Perhaps a perpetual rhythm of relinquishment would help curb the limitless consumer appetites that have so weakened global communities and the environment.
I forget, though, that these years were not an end in themselves, but a foreshadowing of something Christ has already fulfilled and continues to fulfill in and through those who call on Him in faith.
Like fruits harvested from a fallow field, Christ brought forth Life from the dominion of death. Just as the Jubilee year loosened the bonds of oppression between neighbors, the kingdom of God is one in which all are free, all are inheritors, all are enfranchised. And just as the land rested during the sabbath year, the Kingdom of God is a place where we may rest.
Read the full reflection here.