Liberty for the Captives

One Shabbat, Yeshua was teaching in a synagogue and noticed a woman whose body was so crooked, she could not stand or sit as a normal person. He called her over and said “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” She rose up straight, glorifying God!

But the synagogue official objected to this being done on the Shabbat. Yeshua rebuked him, saying “Even animals are set free on Shabbat! How much more should this daughter of Abraham be liberated, whom Satan has bound these eighteen years.

Bringing liberty to those held captive (whether by sin, sickness, or demonic oppression) is central to the mission of the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor … to heal the brokenhearted … to proclaim liberty to the captives…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:1-2).

He made this profound announcement at the outset of His ministry, reading Isaiah 61:1-2 in a Nazareth synagogue, as recorded in Luke 4:16-21. When Isaiah spoke of the Redeemer proclaiming “liberty to the captives“, he used the word DROR / דרור which means both liberty and “free as a bird”. This word seldom appears in the Hebrew Bible, but is prominent when God grants Israel freedom from slavery and indebtedness, in Leviticus 25:10. “And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty (dror) throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee year for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and … to his family.

Passover and Jubilee?

Wow! In the context of Passover this is huge. It means that Yeshua has proclaimed to me – a former captive/slave to sin and self –liberty. I’ve been released, set free! Furthermore, anything that seeks to recapture me has no claim on my soul. My prison door has been permanently opened. Messiah has come to release me from all forms of slavery and indebtedness. The entry is repentance – turning back to the Living, Merciful God – returning to the incredible inheritance I’ve been granted as His adopted son.

Some say this is the Jubilee year. The Jubilee year was when Israelite families were restored to their inheritance every 50 years. I have found no Jewish source declaring 2016 to be that year. Maybe it is, maybe not. But I do know that when Yeshua read from the Isaiah scroll He did not imit those promises to once every 50 years!

In the spirit of both Passover and Jubilee, we are invited to enter into the liberty obtained for us by the blood of Yeshua. It’s time to return to our full inheritance as God’s paid-for, fully adopted kids. Let’s proclaim it this year!

This article originally appeared appeared in Israel’s Restoration Newsletter, May 2016 and reposted with permission.