Jubilee

Abstract: In the Exodus, God delivered his people from slavery in order that they might rest securely with him in his special Promised Land. In order to preserve and reinforce this work of redemption (liberation), God instituted the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-55), also known as the “year of liberation.” Every fifty years, this Jubilee was proclaimed throughout the land. Those who had been forced to sell themselves into slavery due to economic hardship were freed; and, likewise, land that was sold was returned to its family. The year of Jubilee both reveals God’s immense compassion for the downtrodden and points us forward in anticipation to the ultimate Jubilee that is achieved for us by Jesus (Isaiah 61:1-4; Luke 4:16-21).



The Jubilee (Lev 25:8-55; cf. 27:16-24; Num 36:4; Jer 34:8-22), also known as a “year of liberty” (Ezek 46:17), was a special institution given by God to preserve and reinforce his work of redemption on behalf of his people.

In the Exodus, God had liberated his people from the bondage of slavery under the Egyptians. He did so in order that he might claim them as his special people and cause them to dwell securely (rest) in his special place (the Promised Land) (e.g., Ex 3:8; Lev 25:38). In so doing, God was recovering his purpose for creation — God’s people dwelling securely with him (resting) in God’s special place.

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My Personal Sermon Check-List & Preparation Process

The following is a general outline of the process I follow when preparing sermons:


Sermon Preparation Process

** Prayer throughout **

  • Understanding the text:
    • Read the text including its broader context.
    • Read the passage slowly, meditatively, and prayerfully – Compile notes.
    • Exegete and interpret – Look at text in original language; look at various translations; attend to text critical matters, grammar, syntax, word studies, structure, purpose, relevant parallel passages, theological analysis, etc.
    • Consider the passage’s relationship to redemptive history, the Gospel, Christ, and mission.
    • Anticipate sermon development: formulate passage’s purpose; develop initial conception of sermon structure; consider illustrations and applications.
    • Use resources (e.g., commentaries, sermons). Compile notes on key
  • Sermon construction:
    • Determine main point/purpose.
    • Develop sermon structure.
    • Fill-in sermon substance: introduction, prayers, explanations, illustrations, and applications, and conclusion.
  • Final matters:
    • Refine/complete sermon.
    • Practice sermon.
    • Preach the sermon to yourself.
    • Pray for sermon delivery and effect.

The following is my personal check-list I developed for consultation when preparing sermons:


Sermon Check-List

  • True to the passage’s…
    • Authorial intent?
    • Passage structure or form?
    • Genre?
    • Context and book?
    • Aim (affections, belief, trust, obedience, thoughts, actions, etc.)?
  • Biblical theology:
    • Redemptive-historical context considered?
    • Relationship to Christ?
    • Passage interpreted in light of the Gospel?
    • Mission-equipping?
    • Inspiring vision of God set forth?
  • Sermon quality:
    • Main point—clear and frequently stated?
    • Well organized—clear and helpful structure?
    • Simple—avoids unnecessary complexity?
    • Selective—on what will you choose to focus?
    • Brief—the “less is more” principle; distinguish what is important vs. what is merely interesting?
    • Perspective—don’t miss the “forest for the trees” or the “trees for the forest.”
    • Concise—high quality to quantity ratio?
    • Use of pithy, memorable phrases?
    • Helpful illustrations, introduction, and conclusion?
    • Practical? Down to earth? Thoughtful, engaging, quality applications
  • Audience consideration:
    • Sermon oriented specifically to this audience?
    • Clear, understandable language?
    • Clear explanations of theological issues?
    • Answers given to questions the average person may have of the text?
    • Audience’s translation(s) considered?
    • Conscientious of nonbelievers? Gospel presented?

Reflections on My Grandmother’s Passing

Last night after dinner my grandmother passed away.

We were close. But I think more than anything I’m sad for my grandpa, because he lost his life partner and best friend. He loved her so much. (They were that adorable old couple that’s more in love now than the day they were married.)


Death is an incredible reminder that things are not right in this world. Death is universally typical; but, as a Christian, it is my firm conviction that death is not “normal.” It is an intrusion into God’s good creation, a testimony to and result of humanity’s horrific plunge into deep-seated rebellion against a good God (what we as Christians call sin). And, apart from Christ’s return, it is something we will all face.

As the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes tells us, death seems to stamp the entirety of our lives up until that moment as “pointless.” Whatever was achieved, whatever good was done, whatever meaning was found, whatever joy was had, death puts a (seemingly) permanent end to it all.

But our hope — our only hope from death, the only hope my grandmother has in overcoming death — is the good news about this guy named Jesus, who, as the Bible tells us, is God become a human being for the very purpose that he might take upon himself this human predicament (death), face it square in the face, wrestle it down, and, through his own death on our behalf, deal death itself a deathblow, achieving resurrection-life through his own resurrection.

This is the gospel. This is our anthem as Christians: deliverance from sin and all of its nasty effects (including death) for all who lean wholly on Jesus for their rescue.


1 Cor 15; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14; Rev 21:4.