Friday, June 29, 2012


He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . (Luke 4:18).

Several weeks ago when we started our series of daily reflections on “Breaking Free” I expected a particular challenge with regard to the theme of freedom. I thought it would be hard to say something compelling about the gift of freedom to people who already assumed they were free.

My assumption was that a compelling message about freedom would first require a compelling exploration of our lack of freedom, the peculiar nature of our bondage.

As we conclude this series, I’ve come to think my assumption was wrong.

Most people, even in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’ know the places in their life that are shackled and stuck. We acknowledge the horrific realities of slavery and human trafficking in our world. And we know all too well the more subtle forms of bondage like addictions and debt and chronic depression.

The chains that leave our souls raw and bruised are not that hard to see. The real challenge with regard to freedom is in knowing with certainty that freedom can be had right now, today.

In our modern day captivity the widely used mantra of hope is “someday.” Someday things will change. Someday things will settle down. Someday we’ll find the right job or the spouse we’ve been waiting for. Someday the market will bounce back. Someday something will happen to make us truly free. We will shed what burdens us and slip free of what holds us in its grip. Someday we’ll find freedom.

When Jesus launched his ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth he did so by reading from the prophet Isaiah. He read a passage of scripture in which God spoke through the prophet about setting captives free, releasing the oppressed and restoring sight to the blind.

After the reading Jesus sat down and began his teaching on the text with these words: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Today. Jesus announced to the Nazareth congregation that the freedom God wanted to bring about was not merely a promise. It was a present reality and it was happening in Jesus’ works and words.

And what Jesus did then he does now. Jesus makes us free. He does this by the power of the Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” wrote Isaiah. Jesus grants to us the gift of that Spirit and “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17).

So we end with a simple invitation with regard to your freedom. Don’t look to someday. Don’t look to something. Look to someone. God’s gift of freedom is yours in the life and death of his Son and that gift can be yours. Today.

We know the chains that bind us, O God. We bring them to you and we ask you to change these things; we ask you to change our world. And we ask you set us free by changing us. Make us messengers of freedom as we live each day in the power of your Spirit, we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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