27 Dec A Mystery: Freedom for the Captives
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointedme to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up thebrokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darknessfor the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1
Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention, designed to safe guardprisoners of war, underscores the demand for humane treatment. POWs must “at all times be humanely treated.” They “must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence and intimidation,” and “measures of reprisal against POWs are prohibited.”
You and I were once prisoners of war. We were imprisoned by our sinfulnatures, with us since conception, urging us to sin and then convincing us weare unforgivable and unlovable, especially by a righteous God who demands perfection.
And yet the prophet Isaiah shares with us in today’s reading the promise of “freedom for the captives and release . . . for the prisoners.” This is not just a release from Babylon (Israel’s captors at this time in history). The prophet here speaks of freedom from sin, from spiritual death, and from thepower of the devil.
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, promised in the Old Testament, promised throughthe ages, came and won freedom for us and for the whole world. This is good news worth proclaiming to those who may still be seeking a “release fromdarkness.”
Jesus is our Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention. He treats us not as our sins deserve, but offers instead the full and free forgiveness won by his death on the cross. Those who believe in this once-for-all sacrifice are at all times protected from the violence and intimidation of the devil and his evil angels. There can be no reprisal from God either. He treats believers in accordance with how he sees them: through the lens of the guiltless Son he sent to save us.
In Christ, there is no mystery. We are free from spiritual death. We are released from the darkness of sin. We are no longer prisoners of the devil. To God be the glory!
Lord God, protector and preserver, we acknowledge we are imprisoned by sin. We thank you for the freedom from captivity afforded us through Jesus. Now, according to your will, grant us an unwavering faith in Jesus and the privilege of sharing his message of liberation and redemption. Amen