Hi everyone. Rob here.
The readings in The Revised Common Lectionary on Sunday included an abridged version of the 10 Commandments. I had the privilege of leading the liturgy on Sunday and I made the comment that modern society sees the Commandments as rules that restrict. Ancient Israel, on the other hand, would have seen them as a statement of liberation. They were no longer slaves to Pharaoh. They were now God’s people. This is how God described the relationship to Moses in Exodus 19:4-6:
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’
That’s quite a promotion! In our western culture we have made the mistake of thinking of liberation as being free to do what we want, when we want and how we want to do it. We believe we are free when we are only responsible to and for ourselves. But that is not biblical freedom. It is, in fact, a new kind of slavery. It’s a slavery to self and, therefore, to sin. Biblical freedom is when we are obedient to God who made us and loves us. Obedience is when we say Yes to God. When we say yes to God we enter into his freedom and that is what makes us free in return. Jesus’ victory was to defeat all the powers that get in the way of us saying Yes.
We see this freedom at work in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As he walked up and down the land of Israel you could see that he was free. No so-called authority figure could rein him in. Pharisees would confront him and leave with their metaphorical tail between their legs. Neither Rome nor Herod could intimidate him. Demons couldn’t stand up to him and the Devil couldn’t tempt him. Peter tried to tell him how good Messiahs should act and was thoroughly rebuked. The soldiers fell back before his authority and Pilate was troubled by it. Jesus chose to be arrested and chose to die. We then discovered that death couldn’t contain him either. Heaven can’t contain him. His life flows to us even now. Don’t you want to enter into that freedom?! Then bow the knee, surrender, submit and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into an obedient life. Freedom will follow.
Do I experience this all the time? Am I totally obedient to the Spirit of Jesus? No, but perfection isn’t really the goal. Union with God is the goal. Intimate connection with God is the goal. He is our life and he must become our life. A good thing to measure our progress by is our desire. Are we wanting more of God in us, through us and around us? Is it his freedom, his love and his life we desire to be in us? If yes, then we are making progress. If not, ask for that desire. Where we place the eternity set in our hearts will dictate how we live and who we love for.
So, let us all bow the knee and give the King our yes today. Grace and peace everyone.