As a citizen of the United States, I grew up in an era when the power of choice and the liberty of doing whatever one pleased were considered God-given rights. However, does the liberty of doing whatever one wants to do or whatever satisfies at some physical, emotional, social or even spiritual level truly equate to freedom?
As I contemplate upon the meaning of Good Friday this morning, I cannot help but consider the power of individual choice that was sacrificed for me and for all men, women, and children. Jesus Christ chose to give up his liberty, his authority, his power, and his life as part of a supernatural and transformational rescue mission.
Why a rescue mission? What do we need to be saved from?
In a word, darkness.
We live in a dark world. Sin, ignorance, and unbelief abound. Turn on the television. Skim the thumbnail images on websites. Listen to the sound bites on the news. Corruption, betrayal, crisis, tragedy, terrorism, murder, child-trafficking, abuse of power and more bombard our hearts and minds to the point that we hardly feel the horror. Beautiful and sometimes scary images of artificially-enhanced faces and bodies adorn the covers of magazines piercing the self-images of young and old. We question our worth and image, “I don’t look like that. Should I?” Sadly, racism is still evident in every part of the world; even after centuries of effort to abolish it. Darkness, misunderstanding, judgment and intolerance remain.
Darkness is evident now. And it was evident before. Peter wrote, “These people (who live in darkness) are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them” (New International Version, 2 Peter 2:17-19).
And the evil one wants to keep it that way. He rules as the dark lord of this earth. In fact, one of his names, KVX, means darkness. He chooses the pathways of darkness to secure the hearts and minds of men, women and children. He tempts. He captivates. He charms. He deceives. He harnesses the works of evil to blind mankind and induce impotence. He locks mankind in a prison of self-sufficiency, self-empowerment, and self-adoration.
The evil one doesn’t want us to know that there is another way to live. He doesn’t want us to know that there is a kingdom of love, grace, freedom and truth. He doesn’t want us to know that we can be rescued, delivered, and set free from ourselves.
How is that possible?
Our rescue mission’s first act occurred on this day; Good Friday. Jesus endured the wrath of evil, scorn, and ridicule. He gave up his liberty and his power of choice. He allowed the savagery of every sin ever thought, the pain of every sin ever committed, and the horror of every sin ever regretted upon his body with each nail strike. He endured the pain, misery, and distress with mercy, grace and compassion for us all. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross would ultimately rescue, deliver, and set us free from our sins; if we would believe.
Paul said this to the Colossians, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (New International Version, Colossians 1:13-14).
Jesus’ sacrifice rescued us and brought us into the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Light, and the kingdom of redeeming Love. Through Jesus Christ and His power, we have the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
Good Friday is just one of the central acts of Jesus’ rescue mission! The most important act was still to come three days later when Jesus Christ overcame the power of death through his resurrection for you and for me.
Because of Jesus, because of His love, because of His mercy, because of His grace, because of His suffering and His sacrifice, I chose to be rescued and experience the joy and freedom He offers and be delivered from a ruthless, dark life of deceit. There is a spiritual richness and spiritual grace that have been given to you and to me through the cross of Christ. To seek, to believe and to persist in living out these spiritual blessings is my aim today and every day in honor of my Savior and Lord.
I’ve been rescued. Have you?
If not, would you consider asking Jesus Christ to rescue you and forgive you? It’s just the first step to experiencing the wonder, joy, and freedom offered in Christ. Your rescue mission can begin today.
Original image source: http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/cross-of-christ-0101.jpg