Garry spoke tonight on ‘The Messiah’s Manifesto’, initially speaking from one of Isaiah’s Servant Songs (Is 42:1-7). Here, we see that the Servant of God would be aided by God, approved by God and anointed by God, a bringer of justice, but not in the retributive way people were expecting. Instead, He would work with tenderness and gentleness, giving light, sight and liberty to all.
Jesus proclaimed and delivered freedom to all. Speaking in the synagogue (Luke 4:18), we see Him quoting from both Is 61:1-2 and Is 58:6, to show us who He was and how He would work. He taught about freedom (see John 8:31-32, 36), showing us that by His death and resurrection, He offered freedom to the prisoners and the oppressed. All of us were prisoners to sin, and His rescue does not involve tunnelling out or fooling the guards, but paying the price in full.
What exactly does Jesus offer to free us from?
1. We are freed from sin and its control
Acts 13:39 says, ‘Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.’ The law showed us how to be perfect and acceptable to God, but unfortunately, we are not perfect and cannot keep the law perfectly. Help is available, though. Rom 6:5-7 reminds us that we have to put to death the old life, which is not easy (firstly because we are so used to the way of sin and secondly because it is often enjoyable.) To play with sin, however, is to play with fire (see Prov 6:27) and we must cooperate with God to enter into the freedom from sin He can give us. (Rom 8:1-2)
2. We are freed from guilt
Our consciences are like the ‘app’ that tells us when we have crossed the line between right and wrong, but we can be either over-sensitive (as Paul realised when discussing meat sacrificed to idols) or desensitised (when our consciences are ‘seared’). We need to have a trained conscience, understanding that Jesus truly has freed us from the debt of sin and therefore we can approach Him with confidence. (Heb 10:22)
3. We are freed from our fear of death
Heb 2:14-15 tells us that Jesus has freed us from our fear of death. Without Him, we are lost, the curse of death is upon us and we have no hope beyond this life. All we could expect is ‘a fearful expectation of judgment’ (Heb 10:27), but Christ has died and risen again, thus breaking the power of death. All around us, we see a fear of death (perhaps exacerbated at the present time because of the pandemic), but the resurrection demonstrates how Jesus can free us. If He can free the disciples who were huddled together in a room even after the resurrection (John 20:19) and transform them into fearless evangelists who faced martyrdom with courage, He can do the same for us!
We’re very aware of manifesto pledges during political elections and how these are (usually) not worth the paper they are written on. Jesus the Messiah not only pledges to bring liberty; He makes good on His promises!