Healing Line

Healing Line

Y2K: The Year of Jubilee

by Francis MacNutt
Winter 1999

The Year 2000, according to traditional Judeo–Christian belief, is the year of Jubilee. What does that mean? It is an extraordinary date meant to occur every 50 years (see Leviticus 25:8), but perhaps it is even magnified for the millennial year. In the Jubilee year, a time of rejoicing, all slaves were to be set free, all property was to be returned to its original owners, and all debts were to be canceled.

The year of Jubilee is especially important since Jesus, in his first talk — his own "State of the Union" address (Luke 4:18–19, which quotes Isaiah 61:1–3) — boldly stated that He came "to proclaim release (freedom) to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (i.e. the year of Jubilee).

As we approach Y2K, I believe we should be asking ourselves: "What is my own personal response to this great year of Jubilee?"

I believe it means that we need to set free anyone we have not forgiven. By experience I know that when someone holds something against me, I actually feel something bound up in me: I am not free. Even without words, that unforgiving person, my "enemy," has somehow imprisoned me. On the other hand, I can free those who have hurt me by forgiving them. Forgiving others releases them in a very real way.

In my humanity I seek to punish — "an eye for an eye" (Matthew 5:38):this is a normal reaction, even for many Christians. But Jesus has told us to cut through the everlasting circle of violence. He taught that to forgive our enemies is love's highest act. He tells us to forgive our enemies even when they are in the wrong.

Humanly, I don't think this is really possible. So we need to pray for a healing of hard hearts by asking Jesus to pour his own forgiving love into our hearts to enable us to do what we cannot do on our own: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34a). So, as Christians, we should enter this extraordinary year seeking reconciliation and peace.

In learning to love, in learning to forgive, we gradually become healing persons — not just people who pray for others, but Christians whose very presence brings healing. Our dear friend Tommy Tyson once said that just as we become sick when we are around sick people, we should be able to catch health when we are around Christians. This is our noble ideal and, at times, I have actually seen it happen.

Lord, help us, heal us, so we can become loving, forgiving, healing persons: that's the best way we can prepare to rejoice in the Year of Jubilee!

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Winter 1999 Issue