“HE HAS anointed me to ... proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). A growing number of biblical scholars believe that “the acceptable year of the Lord” likely refers to the jubilee year of Leviticus 25. For this year there is promised a remission of debts, the liberation of slaves, the making fallow the soil, and the return to each individual of their family’s property. For rabbinic Judaism and his other listeners, Jesus was linking his coming with the time when all inequities would be righted, a time of social and economic restructuring.

[John Howard] Yoder suggests that texts such as “Do not be anxious” may be given in the context of the fallow year and that the prayer “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” should be interpreted far more literally than has usually been the case in praying our Lord’s prayer.

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