Thursday, December 27, 2001
For three months, Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer had been prisoners of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, accused along with other aid workers of trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. In October of 2001 their prison cells was shaken by the thunder of U. S. bombs falling on the city of Kabul. Weeks later, after a cold, sleepless night in a steel shipping container, the girls and their colleagues found themselves in a new prison south of Kabul, with rockets crashing down on the contested town they were in. Suddenly, men were banging on their prison doors. They believed that their Taliban captors were returning, and now their fate was clearly uncertain as the situation around them dissolved into chaos. Then, to their surprise, an anti-Taliban soldier came in with reams of ammunition around his neck. He was just shouting two wonderful words - "You're free! You're free!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Liberator."
What a feeling - to be imprisoned, in great danger - and then to have a liberator suddenly come crashing into your chaos shouting, "You're free!" It's an experience shared by many who have met the Liberator.
His rescue of folks like you and me is described in the Bible in John 8, beginning with verse 34. It's our word for today from the Word of God. "Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'" When Jesus talks about "sin," He's talking about something much deeper than just breaking some religion's rules - He's referring to the fact that we've all decided to run our own lives instead of letting God run them - which has led us to a lot of selfish choices, a lot of hurtful actions, and a lot of accumulated garbage in our lives. There's not one of us who doesn't know the weight of the guilt of our mistakes -- the bondage to our dark side that has made it impossible for us to shake some of the junk we don't really want in our lives.
But Jesus moves from talking about our slavery to our dark side to the promise of something better - freedom! He goes on to say, "If the Son (that's Him - the Son of God) sets you free, you will be free indeed." Now, Jesus Christ is offering to you and me the promise of being liberated from the guilt, the shame, and the slavery of this sin-prison we're in - something no religion can possibly do for you. He wants to remove your guilt with total forgiveness of every wrong thing you've ever done. He wants to remove the shame and replace it with a new sense of cleanness and worth. He wants to give you the spiritual power to stop doing the things you've never been able to shake.
But for Jesus to be able to rescue you from the prison of your sin, He had to give His life - He went to the cross to pay and remove your death penalty for every wrong thing you've ever done. He stands ready to make this day your Liberation Day if you'll tell Him you're opening your life to Him - that you're depending totally on Him to be your personal Rescuer from your personal sin.