The Year of the Favor of the LORD

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the year of the favor of the Lord.
Luke 4:18-19

JESUS read this passage from the book of Isaiah (61:1-2). It referred to the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25), a time of restoration. Debts forgiven, prisoners set free, sabbath rest. Good news, indeed! After closing up the scroll, Jesus sat down to teach. Then He said something which was quite startling for that little Jewish congregation. He announced to them all, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

It had not been very long since Jesus had been baptized by John in the river Jordan. There the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. Being filled with the Spirit, He returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Having triumphed by the Word of God, He returned to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit" and began His ministry.

Now He was back home in Nazareth, preaching in the synagogue, proclaiming the year of the favor of the Lord, and applying those prophetic words to Himself: "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." For the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, as at His baptism. And He was anointed, not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Anointed One. Messiah in their midst.

By declaring the fulfillment of this Jubilee passage, Jesus was outlining His call and setting forth the charter of His ministry. A ministry of preaching good news, of healing, and of freeing captives. A ministry of proclaiming God's favor.

As we read on in the Gospels, we find that this is exactly what He did. Even before the end of Luke 4, we see Jesus preaching the good news of God's kingdom (vv. 31-32, 43 ), releasing people from demonic oppression (vv. 33-36, 41) and healing the sick (vv.38-40). His word went forth with authority, and no one who came to Him for deliverance or healing was turned away. No demon was too great to cast out, no sickness too difficult to cure. Everyone who came, received. The Gospels are full of this.

When Jesus chose His disciples, he trained them in this Jubilee ministry. He appointed them, "that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons" (Mark 3:14-15). Not only would they be able to experience the favor of the Lord themselves, they would be able to minister it to others, as well. Later in Mark, we find that they indeed "went out and preached that people should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them" (6:12-13)

On the night of His last Passover meal, shortly before He was taken and crucified, Jesus spoke to the disciples about the authority He received from God the Father. "The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10). The works He was talking about are actually the miracles He performed (healing, casting out demons, etc.) Then He said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (v. 12).

This is amazing! First, Jesus is very emphatic about this — "most assuredly, I say to you." Second, faith is the condition. These works are not conferred as some sort of college degree. They are not granted as a special dispensation. They are not earned by good deeds. They are received by faith and are for everyone who believes in Jesus. Third, those who believe in Jesus will do the same works He did. Fourth, those who believe in Jesus will do greater works. Fifth, all of this is possible because, not only has Jesus died on the Cross to redeem us, and risen from the dead, but He has returned to the Father and has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us forever (John 14:16).

After His resurrection, and before He ascended to the Father, Jesus spoke to the disciples and said, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). Just as Jesus had discipled them in Jubilee ministry, they were now to disciple others throughout the world.

And so it continues — the year of the favor of the Lord — ever since Jesus declared, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Are you in need? There is good news for you. Are you brokenhearted? There is healing. Do you have a physical affliction? There is recovery. Are you bound by debt? There is provision. Are you a slave to lust or greed? Oppressed by fear, anger, or a spirit of unforgiveness? There is deliverance and freedom, and forgiveness of sins.

It is a time for joy, as King David said. "Let all those who put their trust in You rejoice. Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them. Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield" (Psalm 5:11-12). Praise the Lord, for "His anger is for a moment (and Jesus has endured that for us on the Cross); but His favor is for life" (Psalm 30:5). If we have received the Lord Jesus Christ and our trust is in Him, then the promise is for us. We can now walk in the favor and blessing of the Lord.

Not only are we now able to walk in the favor of the Lord, we are also able to extend that favor to others. Jesus chose the disciples that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, to deliver people from demonic oppression, and to heal the sick. Likewise, those disciples trained other disciples, teaching them those very things they had learned from Him. And those disciples trained still other disciples, and so on. Even today, if we are disciples of Jesus, that same authority and anointing is there for us, for He has given us the Holy Spirit.

Paul spoke of it this way when he reminded the Corinthians, "We have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:4-6). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, that same power which raised Jesus from the dead, God has enabled us to minister His covenant promises to all who will receive them.

And so I say to you, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." The Spirit of the Lord is upon you — if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ — and He has anointed you to preach the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind and freedom for the captive, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim that this year is the year of the favor of the Lord.

© 2001 Jeff Doles.
All rights reserved.

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“JEFF DOLES is a Christian author, blogger and Bible teacher. His books include The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth: Keys to the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Matthew and Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles. He and his wife, Suzanne, are the founders of Walking Barefoot Ministries. Visit their website at”

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