Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When the Son sets us free

It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.” (Borrowed from

Perhaps the total impact of that illustration cannot be felt by individuals today, because we have never experienced captivity like the prince and his family.  For the most part, we live comfortable lives, never wondering if there will be enough to eat or if we get to keep the electricity turned on another month. I know there are those in today's world who face those struggles, and sometimes it does feel like they are prisoners of the things life has sent their way. 

While Christians do have the responsibility to minister to the needy and help in areas where we can, the real message of the story above is a message of staying focused on the only one that can bring us real freedom and release from those things that enslave us. 

Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah, the words which would describe the ministry of the Son of God on the earth. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”   Luke 4:18-19

Right in the middle of his ministry description, is the phrase, "He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners."  Jesus wasn't saying his ministry was to open all the jail cells and turn all the criminals loose. True, incarceration can become an incentive for change and repentance, but Jesus had in mind the freedom from those things that enslave us and keep us from being his disciple. Our minds might immediately think in terms of alcoholism or drug addiction, and Jesus can set you free from those things. Often overlooked are things like gossip and slander and backstabbing among our ranks. The honest inspection of our own lives will bring to light those things which hold us in captivity.

Jesus wants you to know the power of God, through the cross of Christ, offers you release and freedom from whatever enslaves. Finding his freedom for you, personally, leads to the real joy of Christian living. Keep your eyes on the One who sets you free. 


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