September 6, 2004

Liberty
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because 
the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the 
poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to 
proclaim freedom for the captives and release from 
darkness for the prisoners" (Isaiah 61:1).

Last Thursday evening President Bush accepted the 
nomination for president from the Republican party. A 
key theme through his speech was that of liberty. Near 
his close, using biblical imagery he said,

"To everything we know there is a season - a time for 
sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. 
And now we have reached a time for hope. This young 
century will be liberty's century."

Under the shadow of the approaching of another 
anniversary of that tragic September day when the 
United States (and the world) endured one of the 
saddest single days in history, Bush chose a most 
optimistic tone. More than simply optimistic, he 
predicted that liberty will triumph in this century.

I cannot say for sure what he meant. I don't know what 
liberty means to the American president. Is he saying 
that no one will need to fear terrorism? Perhaps he is 
referring to the spread of American style democracy, 
free enterprise, and individual freedoms. Is there 
something of his own religious convictions poking 
through these words? It is difficult to say for sure.

That he can have this level of optimism is quite 
striking. Cynics would respond by saying that this is 
no more than election rhetoric designed to stir the 
emotions, nothing more. Maybe so. But why does this 
kind of talk arouse the emotions? Is it not because 
many of us wish for the very thing he claims is on its 
way: liberty?

Freedom from oppression is not only a desire of 
humans. It is actually the plan of the God of the 
Universe. From the day we, through our first parents, 
turned our backs on him, he has purposed to free us 
from the consequences of our rebellion. According to 
the prophet Isaiah quoted above, freedom from 
oppression is part of the mandate of the Messiah.

All creation is destined for liberty. Whether or not 
it will happen in this century is God's business, but 
it will happen. The day will come when creation will 
flourish in absolute freedom.

While the fullness of our destiny is yet to come, we 
need not wait for a future cataclysmic event to taste 
its reality. The Messiah's mandate of liberty can be 
experienced in many ways right now.

When Yeshua came two thousand years ago, he didn't 
just bring hope and expectation to people, he released 
them from bondage. As people encountered him, he broke 
the chains that bound them. He healed disease, he 
restored vision and hearing, he fed the hungry, he 
cast out demons. He even brought the dead back to 
life.

These acts were not just tokens to prove that he was 
someone special. While these acts of power did 
authenticate who he was to some extent, they were the 
evidence that the God of Heaven was extending his 
mercy to his people. The promise of liberty was being 
fulfilled.

In all this, people were also being led into the 
quality of life that had been lost at the beginning. 
Through Yeshua people's hearts were being set free, so 
that we can truly live as God's children.

As we look at the lives of his followers we see this 
same mission of liberty at work. As they proclaimed 
the truth of the Messiah, they continued to 
demonstrate the reality of God in power and as a 
result lives were being set free.

As President Bush proclaimed, this can be liberty's 
century, that is if we would let God through Yeshua 
set us free.