He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners- Isaiah 61:1
Isaiah 61 has always been one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It is the same passage Jesus read in the synagogue when he first began his public ministry. The fourth chapter of Luke shares this. For me, these are very powerful words that describe just what Jesus set about doing when He came to earth. The prophet Isaiah had written these words several hundred years before, and when Jesus read them aloud He added, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21, NIV).
I am fortunate to live in a place that allows me great freedoms; the freedom to marry a husband of my choice, the freedom to have as many children as I desire, the freedom to worship God, the freedom to meet, the freedom to be educated, the freedom to teach what I have learned, the freedom to pursue a career of my choice, the freedom to live where I desire, and the freedom to travel wherever I wish and the freedom to vote for my leaders.
I realize, however, that this is a special perk of living in the United States, and not everyone has these same freedoms. This freedom is amazing and I am thankful that this is the place God chose for me to live. But, unfortunately all who are free at least physically, are not free spiritually.
Many of us struggle with the freedom from whatever has control over us. We try to free ourselves from life’s pains, sorrows, doubts and fears by our own strength. This is weary work. We try to find freedom in organized religion or a self- centered religious practice, only to find it lacking any true release. What we need is help from God to be free from this pursuit of freedom. This pursuit of spiritual peace.
This is precisely what Jesus offers. Jesus came to set men free from the sin that binds them, from the endless religious rituals that were only a temporary staving off of the darkness and hopelessness felt by men. The sacrifices offered in the Temple were only good for a year, for a short time, for it was just a foreshadowing of what was to come through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus set men free from the captivity and hopelessness of sin, the thing that keeps us from peace with God and ourselves and others. We no longer have to be prisoners of this world, in darkness and without hope. We can and have been set free, if we will only realize this. Jesus opened the prison doors, but we must acknowledge it, and trust Him for our salvation and be reconciled to God. It does not take any additional religious working, or sacrificing or reading ten chapters of scripture per day. It is realizing our need for His sacrifice, believing in His work, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, for us, for you, personally, that opens our eyes, redeems us, and enables us to see the doors of the prisons we have created are already open. God does not force us up on our feet, dragging us out of our prison cells against our will but rather, He proclaims freedom. He declares that what the world had long waited for, a Savior, a Messiah, a deliver, was here, freeing us from religion and declaring that sin and Satan had no more control over us.
Whether or not we have personal freedoms or political freedoms, does not matter, for we can experience true freedom- spiritual freedom by accepting Jesus’ proclamation of our release and walking in faith in Him. This my friend is true freedom. God Bless- Nancy