Jesus Our Liberator  

This week, we celebrate July 4th, our Independence Day here in the USA. The occasion reminded me of the ultimate freedom we have through Jesus Christ.  

I gave a message on Sunday: Jesus Our Liberator. I used as a text Luke 4:18-19:  

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” NKJV 

Vs. 18 … to proclaim liberty to the captives… 

Jesus is in His hometown of Nazareth, attends the synagogue on the Sabbath, and reads from the scroll of Isaiah 61:1-2. He is proclaiming His Messiahship and that His mission was to liberate humanity from oppression.   

Before coming to Nazareth, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted and tested for 40 days. Afterward, He returned from the desert in the power of the Spirit.  

Jesus, fully God and fully human, was clothed by the Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s power. The result is that He spoke with authority and power (Luke 4:32, 36).  

The phrase “to set at liberty” literally means to release from bondage. To set at liberty is from the Greek ἄφεσις (aphesis) and is the process of setting free or liberating.1 It also means to release, forgiveness. Indicates the state of having a particular obligation removed or ignored in a given relationship.2  

Think of the burden of sin we have been released from for a moment. Think of the forgiveness extended to each of us—He truly has set us free! 

According to NT scholar Dr. Craig Keener, the reference to Isaiah in this passage (61:1–2; cf. 58:6) seems to describe Israel’s future in terms of the year of Jubilee, or year of release, from Leviticus 25… Some scholars have suggested that a recent Jubilee year may have made this text fresh in the minds of Jesus’ hearers…3 The year of Jubilee signified all debts forgiven and released—this is what Jesus has done for us through His vicarious death and resurrection! 

Simply stated, Jesus came to liberate humanity from the grip of Satan and evil! 

July 4th is our Independence Day, celebrating freedom from British tyranny 248 years ago. 

We celebrate the day to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, which declared the original colonies free from British rule. Our independence was costly, with much bloodshed and many lives lost. The price of bloodshed helped free a nation, or “set at liberty,” many from bondage and oppression.  

This past June, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.  

There was such Joy in the streets of France after the landing in Normandy of Allied Forces to liberate France and all of Europe from the Nazis. The French greeted the allied troops with signs in France: “Welcome Liberators!”  

Five years ago, on the 75 anniversary of the June 6th, 1944, D-Day invasion, French President Emmanuel Macron, along with US President Donald Trump, praised the World War II warriors who fought to free Europe from evil.  

Macron commended their courage, generosity, and strength of Spirit, which made them press on “to help men and women they didn’t know, to liberate a land most hadn’t seen before, for no other cause but freedom, democracy.” 4 

It’s terrific to fight for your freedom and even more rewarding to liberate others! 

The price paid to liberate Europe in WWII was bloodshed. It was costly, but men and women willingly paid a price for their freedom and others. 

Jesus, the anointed One, came to set at liberty humanity.  

Peter declares, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 NKJV 

Jesus walked on earth liberating the oppressed. He went to the cross to complete the liberation of humanity! Jesus paid the price; His shed Blood! 

Can you remember when he liberated you? That moment when you met Jesus and knew He loved, forgave, and cleansed you. In that instant, we entered new life and became new creations in Christ.  

Made Free Through the Shed Blood 

Paul wrote of our freedom from the law and how believers now live by the law of the Spirit: 

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:1-2 NKJV 

Our Declaration of Independence (Freedom) was ratified by the blood of our forefathers, freeing us from the law of England. As US citizens, we are under new laws based on the US Constitution and no longer under the laws of England and the UK. 

Likewise, through what Jesus has done for us on the cross and shedding His blood, we are free from the law of sin and death. We are no longer under the condemnation of the law or our past!  

Conviction is of the Spirit; condemnation is from the accuser. 

Similarly, we are now governed by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ! We are no longer in bondage to sin, and we are free from death. 

Further, we are identified in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  

Death to the old self is an accomplished fact because we are in Christ, and Christ died to sin. 

3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:3-5 NIV 

The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Jesus’ death upon faith in Christ. Spiritually, we were in Jesus when He died. We are set free from the inclination to sin because we were in Jesus Christ when He died.  

We were buried with Him and now are raised in the newness of life, with the promise of a future resurrection! 

One’s faith in Christ does not free the believer from the possibility of sin, but it does free the believer from the obligation to sin. 

Our old self was crucified with Him. It was not our capacity to sin that died with Christ, but our old self. The capacity to sin still lives, but our old life does not.  

Therefore, after faith for salvation in Christ and water baptism, one must still live in a relationship with Him or from one’s new life. Sin is still possible if we yield to it, but the lifestyle (old self) has been removed. 

We function from our identity in Christ but recognize we depend on the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a Godly life. We are free from sin’s power because we were in Jesus Christ when He died. 

Here is our new spiritual reality: I’ve been crucified with Christ and raised to new life through His resurrection. I now live by the faith of the son of God who loved and died for me (Gal. 2:20).  

The cross becomes a point of victory, a place of overcoming and new life! 

Our abiding in Christ is NOT legalistic but from a relationship—sonship, not slavery! 

Satan, the father of lies, says, “It’s hopeless, give up.” Jesus says, “No, you abide in me, I set you free, you have hope in Me!” 

Allied Forces took back the land stolen by the Nazis in WWII. 

The allied military used the authority imparted by their national leaders and the authority of those governments. They had to exercise that authority to reclaim territory the enemy had taken.  

Same for us! We use the authority Jesus gave us! (Matt. 28:18-20) 

What is holding you captive? Use the authority Jesus gives to live as free! 

Christ has commissioned us to be liberators! 

7As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matt. 10:7-8 NIV 

As He is, so are we in this world! He is the reigning King, defeating the power of sin and death, victorious forever! We go in His name! 

We, then, are to walk in His authority, enforcing the victory He has already won. 

#1 Start with our individual lives through Christ, and take back the territory the enemy has stolen in your life! 

#2 For those in bondage, fight for their liberation! Christ (Anointed One) wasn’t Jesus last name! It was a title.  

As Christians, we are anointed ones, like Jesus, who was an example of how a son/daughter could walk in kingdom love and power! 

God promises to release His power for those who walk faithfully with Him. As a result, His grace and power impact our world. 

Consider the Lord’s rebuke to King Asa through the seer Hanani for relying on the Syrian king instead of the Lord,  

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him… 2 Chr. 16:9 NKJV 

EM Bounds, a nineteenth-century minister, prayer warrior, and prolific writer about prayer, said of this passage,  

“He declares the necessity of men. He acknowledges His dependence on them as a channel through which He can exert His power on the world.” 5  

Yes, God chooses to rely on humanity to partner with Him through prayer and action to release His power in our world. To partner with Him to liberate others! 

Europe needed our help to become free. Sometimes, we need someone or others to pray with us to get the breakthrough.  

Let Jesus liberate you today! And allow Him to empower you to liberate others! 

Bob Sawvelle

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