Jesus was truly free. His freedom was rooted in his spiritual awareness that he was the Beloved Child of God. He knew in the depth of his being that he belonged to God before he was born, that he was sent into the world to proclaim God’s love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled. This knowledge gave him the freedom to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people’s pains with the healing love of God.

-Henri Nouwen

     

We follow Jesus after all—and he was as free a human being as any to ever walk the planet.  I suppose that means we ought to be free ourselves to a certain degree if we follow him at all.

Jesus spoke often about the freedom that life in him entails:

 17-21 Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:

   You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all.
   God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
   You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry.
   Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal.

   You’re blessed when the tears flow freely.
   Joy comes with the morning.                                           (Luke 6:17-21, The Message Bible) 

Many just don’t get it.  It doesn’t sound like Jesus isn’t describing a life of freedom—but he is!  To the casual listener it sounds as if Jesus is talking more in terms of jail than he is in terms of freedom.  Make no mistake—the free life isn’t one of comfort and ease.  It’s not the life of fame and fortune.  It’s never about who’s watching or not watching.

The free life is about much more than any of that.  The free life Jesus lived was about pleasing his Father in heaven and so it is with us.  It is one of the great paradoxes: When we live for ourselves we aren’t exercising our freedom—no—that would be sacrificing the freedom that God has so richly given us in Christ.  A free person can skip down the side-walk smiling after just having lost it all and hum a song of delight in Jesus, because in God’s reality—she hasn’t lost a thing.

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