Out of Seattle comes a story of a Pentecostal Christian couple who gave everyone in their 11-unit building free rent last month – a $15,000 hit.
The reason? They have owned the building for 50 years and are recognizing the ‘Year of Jubilee.’
Jubilee – literally ‘ram’s horn’ in Hebrew – is defined in Leviticus 25:9 as the sabbatical year after seven cycles of seven years (49 years). It commenced with the blowing of a ram’s horn.
The Year of Jubilee stipulated that:
- All prisoners and slaves be set free
- All debts be forgiven
- All property be returned to its original owners
- All labor cease for one year
These are pretty radical moves, and it’s not clear if it was ever recognized, even in biblical times. Even if it was, jubilee today should be considered the same as circumcision or kosher eating – Old Testament law that is OK to follow, but no longer necessary. It has been replaced by a new covenant.
Paul lays it out in Romans 7:4: “My brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
And yet, what a beautiful gesture by this Seattle family. Their generosity has gone viral and drawn attention to their faith.
Their action points to the New Testament themes of redemption and forgiveness. Christ is the Redeemer who came to set free those who are slaves to sin (Romans 8:2). The debt of sin we owe to God was paid on the cross as Jesus died on our behalf (Colossians 2:13-14).
Considering all the free media, maybe $15,000 isn’t much to give up to get the word out?
That’s pretty awesome that someone (especially in Western culture) practices this.