Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

Category 4

Category 5

Category 6

Day 8 of 28: The Year of Jubilee



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







Start Tracking Your Habits Today

Download my free Habit Tracker!


Start Powering Down Intentionally.

Download my free Unplugging Tracker!

The Year of Jubilee

When you compare the genealogies between Matthew and Luke, you’ll notice pretty quickly that they’re different. Completely different.

Skeptics will be the first to point this out as a reason not to believe the Gospel stories, but let’s be honest: These men weren’t dumb. This difference in genealogies is hardly a mistake.

Every author keeps their audience in mind. One of the first things I coach people on is knowing who you’re writing to. It’s impossible to write a story for every person, so pick your audience and write specifically to them.

Luke was writing his book to outsiders. Specifically, he wrote his words for a man named Theophilus, who was spiritually lost. 

On the other hand, Matthew was writing his narrative of Jesus to a Jewish audience, making the audacious claim that the long-awaited Messiah had come. He was writing to a group of people who Knew. Their. Torah. 

Some scholars would say that Matthew was curating his genealogy to make a more significant point. 

To fully understand the weightiness of what Matthew’s genealogy could be doing, we have to travel back to everyone’s favorite book of the Bible: Leviticus. If Leviticus were an episode of FRIENDS, it would be called “The one with all the blood and sacrifices.”

In Leviticus 25, God gave the Israelites a calendar system. He instructed them to make every 7th year a “sabbath year.” It would be a year of rest for the land. 

God goes on to say that after seven 7-year periods, there would be what was called “the year of Jubilee” throughout the land. The sabbath years were about rest, but the year of Jubilee was all about freedom.

During the year of Jubilee, all debts were to be forgiven. Plots of land were to be returned to their original owners. Slaves were to be set free. A clean slate.

Ray Ortlund writes, “Every fiftieth year Israel was to take the whole year off, cancel all debts, return to its original owners all family property that had been sold and generally be kind and generous to everyone. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” (Lev 25:10) – that was everyone’s job for a whole year.”

Matthew breaks his genealogy into three parts– from Abraham to David, from David to the deportation to Babylon, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ. Each part contains 14 generations or two sets of seven. Jesus’ birth starts the seventh set of 7-generations.

N.T. Wright states, “To be born at the beginning of the seventh seven in the sequence is clearly to be the climax of the whole list. This birth, Matthew is saying, is what Israel has been waiting for two thousand years.” The ultimate Jubilee.

A Jewish audience would have known EXACTLY where Matthew was leading them with this, how he was saying through his recording, “A Jubilee is on the way, but this Jubilee is bigger and better than you could ever imagine. The promised Messiah is coming, the perfect example of rest and freedom. He’s coming to set the captives free! He’s coming to restore the land! He’s coming to forgive debts! Proclaim liberty throughout the land!”

Jesus even confirms this himself. In Luke 4, Jesus goes into the synagogue in Nazareth and stands up to read. He reads from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah,

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

The year of the Lord’s favor that Jesus is referencing is the year of Jubilee from the Old Testament. He is saying to the crowd, “I’m the Jubilee. I’m it. I have come to set you free.” It’s no wonder the people got so riled up at this bold statement.

I’ve continually had to trace back over my faith and ask: Am I accessing the freedom Jesus offers? If people were to ask me what my faith in Jesus means to me, would I readily say freedom?

Today, I pray we can all remember this. Let’s not forget that while Jesus may not even be born yet at this point in the story, he will eventually grow up and start a very public ministry at 30. And where he could built a platform on any number of messages, he chose to make his platform about inviting us into freedom:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

His invitation is simple: come to me. Spend time with me. Experience freedom. I will supply your rest. 

No shame. No guilt. No need to fix yourself. Just “come here and experience the freedom I offer.”

Welcome to the year of Jubilee, friends. 


Matthew 1:1-17, 11:28-30, Leviticus 25

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, teach me to rest during this season when it feels too easy to hustle and conquer an endless to-do list. I am tired. I am worn out. Help me answer the invitation of Jesus and admit my need for something bigger than myself– the ultimate Jubilee for my soul.

I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


READ          LATEST



In the Mood For...

Lifestyle Content

Writing Tips

A Faith Boost

Mental Health



The Unplugged Hours

What if you could make a small yet intentional shift away from the constant screens? What if you could learn to check back in with yourself and show up better to your daily life?

Get The Guide

For the One Who
Wants to Start Writing.

My favorite writing resources, tools I use in my own practice, and tips for creating a writing process— all rolled into one PDF.

I'd love to drop some consistent encouragement, favorite things, and the latest essays in your inbox.

Let's Be Friends.

follow @hannahbrencher

If you're into encouraging pep talks, hope-filled devotionals, tips for building better routines, the occasional JonBenet Ramsey deep-dive + some solid book recs-- you've arrived at your destination.

Follow along →

My weekly newsletter →

I love pinning things →