Do you check the news headlines as you drink your morning coffee? Or do you avoid it and head straight to social media and friendly faces? I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to start the day with distressing news from around the world. Besides the ongoing war in Ukraine, people are in the streets risking their lives by protesting the government in China (unheard of just a few years ago!) and in Iran. In Haiti and El Salvador, gangs rule the streets and people are afraid to leave their homes. Even when they stay at home, they risk being attacked and raped or murdered. In some countries in South and Central America, crime is rampant. These are just a few of the hotspots in our troubled world.
People all over this world, people everywhere, are becoming frustrated and weary of being imprisoned, either by Covid restrictions, by government regulations, by crime or by too much materialism. Here in the USA, we are mostly blind to our situation, but many are prisoners, some are prisoners to possessions, jobs, image, social media or technology while others have become prisoners of drugs, violent video games, or computer porn. We are all in many ways prisoners. The hardest prisons to see are the ones hiding in our thoughts and feelings, but they are the ones that keep us behind the strongest bars, the bars of fear, worry, anger, covetousness, etc.
May those prison doors be loosed! God says that He hears the groaning of the prisoners. He hears our cries for help. He told us that thousands of years ago, but we have failed to believe it. Thousands of years ago, King David was in real trouble. In his aching distress, he cried out to the Lord and wrote Psalm 102. His plea for help so many years ago sounds just like the cries of people nowadays who are tired of being controlled by one thing or another. Then in verse 19 of the same psalm, Almighty God calls down from His spectacular heaven and answers the plea. “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” Years after King David laid bare his soul’s cry, Isaiah prophesied of a future time of freedom. Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim 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,” More years passed and a man named Jesus said, This is that day! He went to the local synagogue and opened the Scriptures to the very roll where Isaiah had prophesied. Luke 4:18, 19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” He quietly put the book down and simply said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people in attendance that day were stunned. What?! How can this be?! He was just the guy they knew as Jesus. Yes, just Jesus, beautiful, pure, true, holy Jesus.
Maybe we are still stunned by that statement, but Jesus was once a man just like us. He understands us. He can relate to us. Jesus has the key to our prisons. He knows what is holding us in them and preventing us from being free. He is the key. He can free us from the deepest hell. He is the most beautiful being, stunning beyond words, and yet he gets us. If we read his story and do our best to live out his truth, we will be free indeed. Know the truth and the truth will make you free. Jesus is the truth.
“I am the way and the truth and the life.”