“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Generations did they wait for His advent, placing their hope and their trust in the promises of the Lord. They watched for the signs, holding fast to the word of the Lord given to them from even the most ancient of times. And why? Because they knew that their God was always faithful, and He had given them His assurances that there would come a time when a Savior would be born. He would come to redeem them, setting sin and iniquity to flight as he crushed the head of evil under his heel. (Genesis 3:15) Then, though man had fallen to the most brutal of estates amidst his own transgressions, corrupting that perfect nature that the Lord had created him in, he would finally be set free, dwelling in the mercy of his Heavenly Father.
His life would begin small and weak. He would be born in the most meager of estates. He would be like the twig, that shoot coming forth from the tree. Yet, the power of the Spirit would rest upon Him and He would grow strong and powerful, all authority resting upon Him as He produced the fruit to nurture and sustain us. (Isaiah 11:1-2) “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” he would give us for our edification and against such there would be no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) No longer would we hunger in spiritual exile, for God would be with through our Redeemer who guided and sustained our lives each and every step of the way. He would be with us, pouring forth the Manna from Heaven that we needed to never yearn amidst the starvation of the soul again.
This Messiah would come. His advent would be made clear through Christ Jesus, our Lord and our Savior. He would be the confirmation of all of the promises that God had ever made for us in love. Through Him we would have the power to become the children of God, (John 1:12-13) born again of the water and the Word, of the Spirit of the Lord. (John 3:4-6) With grace, mercy and peace would Christ come to make way the path on high, bringing unto us hope and strength amidst the encompassing liberty that he offered to us. (2 Corinthians 3:17) That is the abiding truth of God’s great love for each and every one of us. For though we were lost in sin, though it made our souls like scarlet, staining our spirits through and through, Christ would come and wash it as clean as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
Praise be to the Lord, finally the yoke of slavery would be cast from us. We just have to stand firm and stand fast then for Christ made us free. (Galatians 5:1) He would ascend on high, leading captivity captive, giving the gift of liberty to the children of men. (Ephesians 4:8) The ransom would be paid through Him, and we would finally be released from the dark hold of sin, death and the Devil in our lives. Gentile or Jew, it would no longer matter, for we would all be the sons and the daughters, the chosen people of God by the power of His love and Christ’s sacrifice.
It’s here then that we come to a fundamental truth, and understanding… we can all relate, at least a little bit, to the prisoners and the slaves, the captives and the hostages of this world, even if we don’t necessarily realize it at the time. After all, we were all lost, we were all fallen, we were all held in such meager estate. The captivity that we faced, it would bring sorrow and suffering, pain and agony, as we found ourselves afflicted by our ancient adversary. In the end it would all ultimately death never to see our Heavenly home. There captivity? It brings anguish and hardship, darkness and torment, as they are left in the most tortured estates as they are subjected to the forces of unrighteousness and wickedness in the world. Too many of them held never return home, dying in the far distant places, those dark, hidden places they are kept by their captors.
Ours may be a spiritual captivity, while theirs is a physical and a mental captivity, but the similarities should cause us to look upon them with a renewed zeal and spirit to help them, to show sympathy and compassion for them in their lives. It should compel us to pray all the harder for them amidst their lives, for, even in our own small way, we can understand a part of their affliction and their distress at the hands of cruelty. We know, in our own minute way, the sorrow of the spirit and the anguish of the soul that they are forced to face amidst their lives given over to iniquity as unrighteousness dominates over them, persecuting and oppressing them in the most significant of ways.
But even here we also come to another fundamental, core certainty as we face the reality of our lives… If God can set us free from the captivity of the Devil, putting his dark power to flight as He brings us to His blessed liberty, then how much more can He do against the captivity of this world and those wicked forces of men that are in it? If the love of Christ can set us free amidst the mercy that the Lord shows by and through the power of His Spirit, how much more is it capable of in the lives of the captives and the slaves held in the dark and hidden places of this world? How much more can it do in the lives of those who are in such need as they are taken from all that they know and all that they love?
This is the God of Israel. He lead His people from the hands of their Egyptian taskmasters even as they were held in slavery and bondage. He brought them out of that land, leading them by His hand to their Promised Land that finally they would be set free to live and to think and to do and to be.
This is the God of salvation. So much so would He love us that He would not even withhold His only begotten Son. For us and the cause of our freedom, for us and the cause of our liberty He would offer him unto us that we might find redemption and reconciliation with Him according to the light of His love. Through him He would put to flight all captivity and bondage, any slavery of the soul.
Look then therefore to the advent of the Lord, our Savior and understand that it is God’s calling to freedom. Look to it, understanding the captivity of the soul, the bondage of the spirit, the slavery of the heart and the liberty of our being that He would bring unto us for our lives. Look to it and understand it, using that enlightenment in the cause of the same love that our Heavenly Father showed unto you, that you may work for the cause of freedom and justice throughout this world, putting the cause of those held in dark and meager estate foremost in your life all of the days of it.
Then shall you magnify the love of God, producing the fruits of the Spirit that Christ first produced in His life, shinning forth the love and the light of our Savior, as his disciple, in all things and through all things, each and every day of your life.
Lord, grant this unto us all…
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.