Recently, I completed reading a book entitled “Jesus our Jubilee”. It was lying in my shelf for months and was a book gift from Our Daily Bread Ministries. It was written by Dr Robert M. Solomon, who was the Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000-2012. I hope a copy of this highly recommended book will find its way into the our Emmaus Library, so that many more can be bless by this book.
Many chapters in this book are devoted to the meaning, significance, application of the concept of Jubilee that God has given to the people of the Old Testament world as well as the saved gentiles of the world today. I will take the opportunity in today’s pastoral column, to share few interesting pages within this book. And that is the Jubilee community in the early church and how it is seen through the following giants of the faith.
A wealthy preacher FRANCIS of ASSISS, of the 12th century. Moved by Jesus ‘ instructions on Matthew 19:16-21, he took on poverty as way of life and founded the Franciscans Movement, which still exist today. He preached the Gospel by word, deed and example and made a great impact on society. In it, the idea of the Great Commission (evangelism) and the Great Commandment (love and compassion ) were followed to the core. Closely followed in the 14th century, theologian like John Wycliffe, called on the church to return to Christ and the Bible. And in the 16th century, the Reformation through Martin Luther, John Calvin, resulted in an outbreak of religious reform and revival. And lastly, the 18th century, saw further revival movements, led by theologians like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers (John & Charles).
JOHN Wesley is a good example of how the Jubilee realities broke out through the preaching of the Word and it’s application in life and society. The Wesleyan revival pushed and pursued personal and social holiness in a combination of personal piety and social responsibility. Over his lifetime, John Wesley would earn more than £30,000(a large sum in those days),but would give almost all of it away to the poor.At his death, it was discovered that he had only a few coins in his personal possessions. John Wesley was deeply convinced and convicted of 2 Cor 8:9 / Deuteronomy 15:4 / Luke 4:18. He knew and pursued what it meant to become like God’s son. Urging all to “EARN all you can, SAVE all you can. GIVE all you can”, John Wesley combined personal hard work and frugality with social generosity. And thereon, following the founder’s example, the early Methodists carried out this Jubilee spirituality and ministry. And so today, we see many Methodist schools on the island of Singapore, amongst the many social works undertaken by this denomination.
I particularly like a line from the book in the chapter “Jubilee Today: The Challenges ” – “A church faithful to Christ must be a robust church that acts courageously and self-sacrificially, not just playing church but becoming the real church of Jesus’.
I strongly encourage all to look out for this book and discover for yourself the true meaning of Jubilee. And may you be enriched further by the excellent writings of the author, Dr Robert Solomon.
Elder Andrew Lim
Ref: Jesus Our Jubilee, Dr Robert M.Solomon, Discovery House, Our Daily Bread Ministries