Formations lesson for June 16: Sabbath and Jubilee - Rest and Renewal for the Nation
May 31 2002 by Haven Parrott , Leviticus 25:1-26

Formations lesson for June 16: Sabbath and Jubilee - Rest and Renewal for the Nation | Friday, May 31, 2002

Friday, May 31, 2002

Formations lesson for June 16: Sabbath and Jubilee - Rest and Renewal for the Nation

By Haven Parrott Leviticus 25:1-26

I'll need your help for this illustration. Imagine you've just arrived at the theater to enjoy a play entitled "The Bible."

Soon after you take your seat, the orchestra begins the overture. The audience grows quiet as the house lights go down. The music swells, subsides and the drama begins.

Oddly enough, however, the curtain remains closed. As you wait for someone to raise the curtain, you notice that the stage is backlit, so the actors' shadowy forms and gestures can be seen as they perform behind the curtain. Though the dialogue is slightly muffled, the plot is discernible and compelling.

So compelling, in fact, that you forget the curtain is still closed until, suddenly, early in the second act (i.e., the New Testament), the curtain splits apart to reveal the stage. And it looks just like you'd imagined it would!

You are amazed at the strange familiarity of the set that, until now, you've seen only in the theater of your mind.

But where are the actors? The characters you've come to know so well?

Wait a minute ... here they come.

Correction, here he comes. But who is this person? The actor takes his place, center stage. He stands alone in the spotlight with his arms raised, embracing the audience with open palms.

Talk about stage presence - his gaze finds yours and you cannot look away. His smile takes you captive. Who is this man?

And then the dawn of recognition: "Oh, my God." Exactly!

Slowly you realize that all the dialogue and drama that went before, behind the curtain (B.C.), had all been about - and only about - this one character.

You realize that this actor is not only the star of the show, but that he is the plot, the theme, the author, the producer, the director, the set designer, the sound engineer, the promotion coordinator ... it's all about him.

When stating His job description, Jesus borrowed words from the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Lk. 4:18, 19).

Clearly, the Old Testament is the chronicle of the coming Christ. He is hidden in plain view among the books of law and history, poetry and prophecy.

Early in the play, many years before the curtain parted, God set up the Sabbath system for the children of faith: every seven days, every seven years, every seven sets of seven years.

The weekly Sabbath observance was about resting and remembering. The Sabbatical year was about resting, remembering and trusting God to provide deliverance that didn't depend on deeds. (Translation: salvation by grace alone.)

The year of Jubilee, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, was about rest, remembrance, redemption and release for the captives.

The Sabbath system was a shadow.

When the curtain in the temple was rent, the substance to which the shadow gave witness was unveiled. The star was revealed.

The believer's Sabbath is not a date, but a person. He is our rest, our redeemer, the One who released us from the bondage of slavery to sin. We are the children of faith, heirs to the Promised Land.

Let us remember and take refuge in Him.

Let us celebrate Christ, Who is our Jubilee!

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5/31/2002 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott , Leviticus 25:1-26 | with 0 comments
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