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).