Jesus and Freedom

Jesus has little interest in freedom of speech, political freedom, or religious freedom. Though we value them highly, they’re barely a blip on His radar.

Oppression, repression, censorship, and persecution marked the lives of everyone Jesus knew in the first century. No wonder they sought a political leader. But Jesus resisted their overtures to make Him king (John 6:15).

We can grow very feisty protecting our freedoms…our unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We file lawsuits, lobby politicians, and deploy military units to preserve (or produce) freedom. But ironically we often live as captives in the land of the free.

Our homes and marriages become battlefields, our finances rule our lives, and we medicate ourselves more than any generation in history, trying to alleviate our incessant pain.


How odd that we fight fiercely for freedom of speech while our marriages collapse; that we spend vast sums of money lobbying for political freedom while silently battling personal addictions; that we sue for religious freedom while bound by the legalism within religion that enslaves so many of us.

It’s understandable. We all find it easier to battle for freedoms larger than ourselves than to admit how desperately we need freedom within ourselves. Our personal chains produce too much personal pain to expose. But wherein lies the greatest freedom?

Jesus did not serve as a delegate to Rome to petition for religious opportunities and equalities. Nor did He debate with local authorities about “democratic reforms.” Instead, He peered into the hearts of those who came to Him and set them free—one at a time—from that which enslaved them.

Nothing has changed.

Jesus continues to look beyond religious debates and “proclaim release to the captives, give recovery of sight to the blind, and set free the oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Political structures and social conventions cannot deliver us from the real darkness that afflicts us. It may lead us to convenience and conformity, but it cannot produce liberation.

What freedom do you need most right now? Freedom from bitterness, anger, loneliness, fear, grief, lust, guilt, or shame? Don’t look to the government or the courts for relief. This is not just the business but the purpose of Christ among us.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

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13 Responses to Jesus and Freedom

  1. Scott says:

    There is something incredibly freeing about spending oneself on behalf of the poor. It helps me break the addiction of self. Now as long as I don’t get proud about that…

  2. Salee Spriggins says:

    Ya know, David….I’m so tired of this whole election year…the surveys, the petitions……I believe America is in big trouble and I pray for her almost daily but sometimes it all seems to rob me of the true freedom I know I have in Christ. Sometimes a little fear grips me and I know it doesn’t come from God ..but it can sure do a number on my joy… Do you know what I mean?

    • David Timms says:

      Salee, I know exactly what you mean. If we place our confidence in national politics rather than the One who reigns over all the nations, it’s easy to lose heart! We belong to the eternal Kingdom of God, not the kingdoms of this world.

  3. Tim Ross says:

    It is tragically sad to see how many people are over-medicated, over-weight, and in debt. We are all slaves to our vices outside of a new creation in Christ. So many suffer so much from past pain yet think it can be locked in a closet inside our heart. But it turns to poison, leaks out, and we try to address it with medication, food, more things, etc. Until we cry out to Jesus and fully surrender it we continue to hold onto the anchor as it plunges down to the depths. I have found so much healing in the forgiveness given by Jesus in my life. He has untied the chains and set me free. I pray others will accept His invitation, ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

    • David Timms says:

      Yes, Tim, rather than seeking freedom, many of us find ways to make bondage more tolerable. You’re right. That’s NOT what Jesus considers “good news.”

  4. Colin says:

    Love this post. Freedom is such a beautiful word. Is there anything more beautiful than the freedom of forgiveness.

  5. Bob Basile says:

    David, I remember the first time I read Galatians as a new believer, back in 1983. The Liberty spoken of by Paul was unlike anything I had experienced in religion in all years prior. Sometimes we set our walls so high that we encumber ourselves. Freedom in Christ transcends it all. Thanks for the “snap-back”. I too have been wrapped in the milieu of the political election year.

  6. MIchelle says:

    Wow! Great article David, I can’t wait to take a class with you this semester! I too find that we tend to distract ourselves by getting caught up in our “rights”, instead of focusing on how Jesus is the one with the power to free us from that very notion. I love that Jesus wants to free the blind beggar as well as the religious leaders. Surely, there is great hope in this freedom Jesus so graciously offers!

  7. Deborah says:

    Wonderful post, David…thank you.

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