When referencing that Jesus had come to set the prisoners free, one of our readers commented, “He didn’t specify those wrongly imprisoned but prisoners regardless of what they are guilty of doing.” Great observation, John. We don’t see Jesus going in and out of prisons opening bars and letting people out the way the Holy Spirit did for Peter and Paul. This is clearly not what Jesus meant or He would have been in much more trouble than He already was with the Roman authorities. But we do see people being set free from the terrible bondage of demon possession, from the bondage of sickness and disease, from the bondage of deafness and muteness or the bondage of paralysis, from the bondage of loneliness and isolation, but mostly, the one that applies to every single one of us without exception, Jesus went about setting people — us included — from the bondage of sin and death. Indeed, that’s what His whole life, death and resurrection was all about — setting us all free from the bondage of sin and death. That’s why His work was not finished until it was finished on the cross and sealed with His resurrection. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Yes, free indeed, because this is true freedom. Not just political freedom or economic freedom, or even cultural freedom from slavery, discrimination or inequality, although all are important, this is a deeper kind of freedom that doesn’t need a legal or social system to cooperate with it. This freedom operates independently in the heart and mind of a believer. It is freedom from guilt, from self-condemnation, freedom from the power of sin that entraps us and makes us sin, and sin again. This is freedom from sin’s addiction. This is the kind of freedom that sets you free even when you may still be behind bars — the kind of freedom that fills you with joy, even when nothing has changed about your situation. You may be trapped by circumstances beyond your control, but you don’t have to change your circumstances to be free indeed. Free indeed is what happens inside regardless.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). This is why our goal here at the Catch is discipleship, because discipleship ends in freedom. Holding to Christ’s teaching is what will make us His disciples, and then, because we know Him, we know the truth, and knowing the truth about ourselves and the world around us is what sets us free. Indeed!