It is Easter 2022. So much of the world finds itself in chains on this day. There is the dark country of North Korea where there is “no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, and widespread malnutrition.”1 There is Myanmar where one Christian states: “Every day I hear gunshots and grenades. The sound comes only one bus stop away from my house.”2 There is China which “is setting up a vast surveillance system that tracks every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens.”3 And, of course, on this Easter, many are thinking of the Ukraine where 4.1 million of its citizens have fled to save themselves and their children from the onslaught of Russian bombs.4
There are many other examples of places in our world where freedom is not allowed this Easter.5,6
Very soon after man began walking this Earth the oppression and outright murder of others has been the news of the day. Soon after this evil behavior started God stepped in and had a plan for the freedom of mankind. The plan goes back millennia and can be found in Genesis 3:15. It is the first forecast that a Savior would be sent into the world to save mankind from its bondage.
One doesn’t have to look far to find the bondage in our world. In my country, the United States, people are in bondage to sex, drugs, material wealth, power, wanting things that others have, and the list goes on and on. The plan of God to release people from bondage to these things is the reason for Easter. Most of the world knows the story of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection days later. Unfortunately, many do not believe the story and do not understand the promise of freedom given for those who come to faith in the only One who can save the world from bondage.
For those who do believe and understand the story, true freedom is a process in the soul of becoming more like the Jesus. The only way anyone can know who Jesus is and was is found in the Bible.
The Bible simply states that all men are in bondage to sin and that the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus. Easter is God’s answer to man’s bondage. Jesus Christ took the punishment that we deserved for our sins (bondage) when he died on the cross. His resurrection made the promise of freedom a reality for all who believe in Jesus as their Lord.
In 2022, when so much of the world is in chains, there is a great promise. It is a promise of freedom and peace. It is not a freedom or peace that the world can give. It is a peace in the heart and soul. Before Jesus was crucified, he told His disciples:
“Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”7
Even Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand His words at the time. As time went by they came to understand and experience the words that Jesus spoke. His disciples were sinful, just like every man. Eventually they understood just what Jesus had done for them. There was nothing they could give to repay God for his sacrifice. No amount of wealth or attempts at perfection or great works could save them. This is what makes Jesus different from all of the other “saviors” the world has to offer. The followers of Jesus trusted His promises and lived by faith. They were still sinful men but as they lived they grew to be more like their Savior. They prayed a lot. We can do the same thing today and ask God to help us with our struggles.
The lack of worldly freedoms that people face in North Korea, Myanmar, China, and the Ukraine can be offset by a freedom that much of the world does not understand. Christians in those countries bleed and feel pain just like everyone else but they have the promises in God’s Word. God’s promises bring comfort in times of great trial.
A Christian life is full of ups and downs. We fail and find ourselves back in bondage until we remember, once again, the freedom that God has to offer us. We ask God for forgiveness and His mercy is constant. As life goes by, we find ourselves becoming a little bit more like Jesus. It is a humbling experience. Then, the next moment we can be like Peter who denied that he knew Jesus. We regret our actions and return to God, once again, remembering the words of Psalm 103:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.”
May God grant you a freedom that only He can give on this Easter day.
7 John 14:27