February 23: Freedom
Leviticus 14; John 8:31–59; Song of Solomon 7:1–4
“Even though I know it’s wrong, I sometimes think, ‘If I hadn’t accepted Christ, I would have so much more freedom.’ And then I venture down that road and realize just how terrible it is. It takes me to a very dark place.”
This deep, heart-wrenching statement by a friend made me realize there are countless people who probably feel this way about Jesus. And what if, unlike my friend, they hadn’t figured out the latter part of this statement? They were probably walking a road closer to legalism than the road Christ envisions for our lives. Or they could be so far from actually experiencing grace and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that they have yet to see how incredible a life lived for Jesus can be.
Jesus promises freedom: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ ” (John 8:31–32). What we often gloss over in this passage, though, is that Jesus is speaking to believers. If you haven’t begun to fully trust in Jesus, the thought that He gives us freedom is difficult to understand. Someone could ask, “Isn’t He creating a system that forces us to live a certain way?” The answer is no: Jesus is setting up what will be a natural response to His grace.
The context of this verse also makes me wonder if someone who hasn’t yet truly sacrificed for Jesus, beyond just a simple tithe, would fathom what freedom with Him looks like. The Jews Jesus is addressing would have already been experiencing some sort of social ostracism for their belief in Him—they would have understood that sacrifice brings spiritual freedom.
This concept isn’t easy to grasp, but in the simplest terms possible, Jesus frees us from religious systems and gives us the Spirit to empower us to do His work. This Spirit guides us and asks us to make sacrifices for Him, but those sacrifices are minimal compared to the eternal life He gave us through the sacrifice of His life. These sacrifices don’t become a system with Christ, but something we strive to do because we want to. That’s the freedom of the Spirit.
Have you experienced freedom in Christ? How can you seek the Spirit’s presence so you can experience more freedom?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thi sis the law of the leper in the day of this cleansing: that is, he shall be brought unto the Priest, And the Priest shall go out of the camp, and the Priest shall consider him: and if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper, Then shall the Priest command to take for him that is cleansed, two sparrows alive and clean, and cedarwood and a scarlet lace, and hssop. And the Priest shall command to kill one of the birds over pure water in an earthen vessel. After, eh shall take the live sparrow with the cedarwood, and the scarlet lace, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living sparrow in the blood of the sparrow slain, over pure water. And he shall sprinkle upon him, that must be cleansed of his leprosy, seven times, and cleanse him, and shall let go the live sparrow into the broad field. Then he that shall be cleansed, shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, so he shall be clean: after that shall he come into hte host, and shall tarry without his tent seven days. So in the seventh day he shall shave off all his hair both his head and his beard, and his eyebrows: even alll his hair shall be shaven, and shall wash his clothes, and shall wash his flesh in water: so he shall be clean. Then in the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and an ewe lamb of a year old without blemish, and three-tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offeirng, mingled with oil, and a pint of oil. And the Priest that maketh him clean shall bring the man which is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Then the Priest shall take one lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the pint of oil, and shake them to and for before the Lord. And he shall kill the lamb in the place where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slain, even in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the Priest’s, so is the trespass offering: for it is most holy. So the Priest shall take of the blood of the trespass offering and put it upon the laps of the right ear of him that shall be cleansed, and upon the thub of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. The Priest shall also take a pint of oil, and pour it into the palm of his left hand, And the Priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand, shall the Priest put upon the lap of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe o fhis right foot: upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering. But the rest of the oil that is in the Priest’s hand, he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord. Also he shall present one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, as he is able. Such, I say, as he is able, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offeirng, with the meat offering: so the Priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lrod. This is the Law of him which hath the plague of leprosy, who is not able in his cleansing to offer the whole. The Lord also spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, When he be come unto the land of Canaan which I give you in possession, if I send the plague of leprosy in an house of the land of your possession, Then he that [owneth] the house shall come and tell the Priest, saying, Me think there is like a plague of leprosy in the house. Then the Priest shall command them to empty the house before the Preist to go into it to see the plague, that all tha tis in the house be not made unclean, and then shall the Priest go in to see the house. And he shall mark the plague: and i fthe plague be in the salls of the house, and that there be deep spots, greenish or reddish, which seem to be lower than the wall. Then the Priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shall cause to shut up the house seven days. So the Priest shall come again for the seventh day: and if he sees that the plague be increased in the walls of the house, then the Priest shall command them to take away the stones wherein the plague is, and they shall cast them into a foul place without the ciyt. Also he shall cause to scrape the house within round about, and pour the dust, that they have pared off, without eh city in an unclean place. And they shall take other stones, and put them in the places of those stones, and shall take other mortar, to plaster the house with. But if th eplague come again and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after that he hath scraped and plastred the house, Then the priest shall come and see; if the plague grow in the hose, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is therefore unclean. And he shall break down the house, with the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house, an he shall carry them out of the city unto an unclean place. Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up, he shall be unclean until the even. He also that sleepeth in the house shall wash his clothes: he likewise that eateth in the house, shall wash his clothes. But if the Priest shall come an see, that the plague hath spread no further in the house, after the house be plastered, the Priest shall pronounce the house clean, for the plague is healed. Then shall he take to purify the house, two sparrows, and cedarwood, and scarlet lace, and hyssop. And he shall kill one sparrow over pure water in the earthen vessel, And shall take the cedarwood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet lace with the live Sparrow, and dip them in the blood of the slain Sparrow, and in the pure water, and sprinkle the house seven times: So shall he cleanse the house with the blood of the sparrow, and with the pure water, and with the live sparrow, and with the cedarwood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet lace. Afterward he shall let go the live sparrow out of the town intothe broad fields: so shalll he make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean. This is the law for every plague of leprosy and black spot, And of the leprosy of the garment, ad fo the house. And of the swelling, and of the scab, and of the white spot. This is the law o fhte leprosy, to teach when a thing is unclean, and when it is clean. Leviticus 14
- Then said Jesus to the Jews which believed in him, If ye continue in my word, ye are verily my disciples, And shall know the truth, and the truth shal make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never bond to any man: why sayest thou then, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answerd them, Verily, verily I say unto you, that whosoever commiteth sin, is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth forever. If that Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed, but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your Father. They answered, and sai dunto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye go about to kill me, a man that have told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abrahm. Ye do the works of your father. Then said they to him We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, which is of God. Therefore Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, then would ye love me: for I proceeded forth, and came from God, neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my talk? because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he hath been a murderer from teh beginning, and abode note in the truth, because ther is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, then speaketh he of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. And because I tell you the truth, ye belive me not. Which of you can trebuke me of sin? and if I say the truth, why do ye not beleive me? He that is of God eareth God;s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honor my Father, and ye have dishonored me. And I see not mine own praise: but ther eis one that seeketh it, and judgeth. Verily, verily I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews to him, Now know we that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets: and thou sayest, If a man keep my word, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the Prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honor myself, mine honor is nothing worth: it is my Father that honoreth me, whom ye say, that he is our God. Yet ye have not known him: but I know him, and if I should say I know him not, I should be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him, but Jesus hid himself,and went out of the Temple: And he passed through the midst of them, and so went his way. John 8:31–59
- How beautiful are thy goings with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels: the work of the hand of a cunning work man. thy navel is as a round cup that wanteth not liquor: thy belly is as an heap of wheat compassed about with lilies. Thy two breasts are as two young roes that are twins. Thy neck is like a tower of ivory; thine eyes are like the fish pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon that looketh toward Damascus. Song of Solomon 7:1–4