Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:31
I’m on the road again, somewhere in the middle of the Canadian prairie on Highway 1, about mid-way through the Province of Saskatchewan. We are returning home from collecting our youngest daughter following a year of attendance at Prairie Bible College.
I am surrounded by low rolling hills as far as the eye can see. My daughter’s iPod is plugged into the radio and playing, as though purposely selected as the soundtrack to the passing scenery, the theme from Last of the Mohicans.
The volume is at ‘Maggie level’, no-one is talking and the sound has permeated every nook and cranny of our Jeep Grand Cherokee. The music swirls around me and I feel the vibration of every string resonate within my being.
Something wells up within my spirit so moving, so powerful—it is somehow both exhilarating and torturous to me. It has, as music often does, penetrated the barrier between the physical realm of flesh and blood and the metaphysical domain of the soul.
Each crescendo further awakens and stirs something within me that longs for expression. I feel a passionate impulse for which I have no outlet. Like a songbird gone mute, or a painter without a canvas, I am helpless to express the overwhelming emotion that I feel.
The angst reminds me that the human soul longs for freedom: to dance, to fly, to soar above the restraints of our physical reality. We are inherently creatures of the soul, created for freedom that we can only glimpse upon this earth.
The fall of man enslaved each of us within the grip of death. Each of us is born a captive within our own sinful flesh. Our spirits are utterly dead in sin, with no hope of life.
Yet man was not designed to live in captivity. We were intended to live in the emancipation that can only be experienced when that spirit comes to life. And that life is only possible through the resurrection that comes through salvation in Jesus Christ.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:1-6
In the Book of Acts, we are told the story of the early Church which grew out of the witness of the Apostles of Jesus. These were the first to put their faith in Jesus Christ and experience the marvelous light and freedom as grace washed over them. They lived and breathed to share the Good News of their emancipation —a new life of liberation from the curse of sin, the burden of the Law and the emptiness of religion.
Their message of redemption marked them as enemies of the one who revels in the captivity of man —that serpent of old that lured Eve into the snare of sin that holds all of mankind in bondage. Consequently, these new Believers faced opposition from the very first and were persecuted relentlessly by those who remained in darkness and, though unaware, the captivity of sin.
One day, as the Apostles were ministering together in Solomon’s Portico—the ornate colonnade where the early Believers were meeting together—they were arrested and thrown into jail by the Sadducees who were jealous of their growing regard among the people.
That night in prison an angel of the Lord came to release them and bring them out of captivity. As they stepped out in freedom they were commanded:
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” Acts 5:19-21
The Apostles joyously obeyed the Lord and willingly devoted the rest of their lives to proclaiming freedom. Freedom from death. Freedom from sin. Freedom from self. They shared their story so that others could receive new life through faith in Jesus Christ.
As Christ followers, we are called to do the same. We are told to walk in the joy of our salvation, to embrace the abundant life He died to give us, to rejoice in the Lord always. We are called to proclaim the name of Jesus through lives that resonate with the song of our emancipation!
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1Peter 2:9
How will you proclaim freedom to those in captivity today?