July 4, 1776: 243 years ago. Delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence 2 days after the Continental Congress voted for independence from England. The American Revolution had begun the year before when tensions grew between residents of the colonies and the British government. It would not be until years later in 1783 when the Revolutionary War would come to an official end. Freedom was realized. America had won its independence from Great Britain. What began in the early 17th century with those 13 colonies eventually led to the formation of the 50 states of the United States of America.
Two thousand plus years ago. Jesus Christ had been sentenced to death by the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. The governor had him tortured and executed by Roman soldiers. Prior to the issuing of the death sentence, Jesus had been arrested by The Sanhedrin, the most powerful religious and political body of the Jewish people. The Sanhedrin was angry with Jesus because of the claims that He had been making, claims of being the Messiah, The One sent by God. Jesus would go on to face six different hearings before being executed on a cross at a site called Golgotha, outside the city of Jerusalem.
The history of the United States clearly shows how freedom came to be for American citizens. It came about through the hard-fought determination and perseverance of the early colonists. They were willing to make sacrifices for the greater good and for the future of those who would follow. American citizens are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices and we reap the rewards of the freedoms which came as a result. For that, we should be appreciative and grateful.
But, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? How does that have anything to do with hope or freedom? The story of the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus can be found in what are called The Gospels – the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There you will read of the plan that God had set in motion to redeem (or buy back) mankind from death. That plan was fulfilled through Christ, The Messiah, God’s Son, who because of His sinless perfection was able to be the sacrifice made to save mankind. To save us from the death sentence of eternity separated from God, a death sentence given because of sin. In order to receive that freedom from God through Christ, we must have faith in who He is and in what He did for us, willingly surrender to Him and then go on to follow Him in obedience. It is in Him alone where the hope of eternal freedom can be found.
Hope nugget: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)