“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”
They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”” (John 18:4–9 NKJV)
I am free, because Jesus stepped forward and said, I am He. Actually, He simply said, I AM. And when He did, the mob fell flat. Those who would turn Him over to be mocked by the Romans, found themselves flattened by the glory of His presence. The simple utterance of His name, brought them to their knees… knocked them out… put them in a place of vulnerability and weakness.
In this moment it was obvious who was in control. They thought they had come to capture a prisoner, instead the were escorting a King. This was no hostage, this was the Holy One. They thought they were carrying out their own plan, but they didn’t realize that the Holy One among them had already chosen the way of suffering. He knew where sin would lead them, He had counted the cost of freedom, and had decided that it was cheep enough for the allegiance of a people who would love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Understanding that His love poured out in sweat and blood was the cost of their freedom, He was willing to pay in full.
No one can accuse God of creating the wicked to die. He created them to live. He offered them freedom but they chose death. They chose to return to the nothingness from which they came. Life and Love are gifts, and they chose to reject those gifts. And so for all who reject the life God grants through creation and redemption, the declaration shall be heard:
Without the breath of God, without the infilling of His Ruach, His Spirit… why we are simply dust. There is nothing to us without Him. He holds us together. For the ones who came in the night to take Jesus away, He was the I AM. The self-existent one and author of their existence. They couldn’t have taken Him, they couldn’t have tied Him up, they couldn’t have tried Him in a kangaroo court if He hadn’t put breath in their lungs and freedom in their hands. The only reason they nailed Him to a cross, is because He had chosen freedom. We think our freedom is our own, we assume that because we live, and move, and breath that we have freedom. But freedom is available because Christ chose slavery, freedom is ours because Jesus chose death, freedom is the most costly thing we have… it came at the cost of our Creator. His life for ours purchased every choice that we will ever make. And it purchased the one choice that matters most:
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19–20 NIV11)
Choose life… for the LORD is your life! This is the cry of freedom! As Nicole C. Mullen sings…
Nicole C. Mullen
Up on Golgotha, hangin’ upon a tree
They say the God-man, died for my liberty
He heard me crying
From my captivity
And so he came down
Down to deliver me
Woah, woah, woah, woah
From the shores of Africa
Up to the doors of America
With voices to Heaven praying for liberty
From every corner of the globe…
God’s people are calling out… Let freedom ring…
For the addict, let freedom ring.
For the single mother, let freedom ring.
For the orphan and the widow, let freedom ring.
For the prisoner and the oppressed, let freedom ring.
For the blind and lame, let freedom ring.
For the grief stricken and sorely afflicted, let freedom ring.
For every man, woman, and child, let freedom ring.
For black and white, let freedom ring.
For old and young, let freedom ring.
Let it ring in the inner rooms,
Let it ring in the outer court,
Let it ring when we’re weary,
Let it ring when we’re strong,
Let freedom ring from the courtroom,
Let it ring from the legislature,
Let it ring from the oval office,
And let freedom ring from the pulpits of our land.
From every heart under Heaven’s watch…
Let freedom ring…
This was Dr. King’s prayer for our nation:
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
As the Hillsong Praise team declares… A Song of Freedom is on my lips… Today… Today… All I can see is Your mercy… All I can see is Your grace. Mercy and Grace… the birth place of freedom. Underserving we are… of this freedom bought with blood… but blessed are we. Blessed beyond compare. Blessed when we sit and when we rise. Blessed with every breath. Blessed by Him who chose death that we might live. Chains that we might lift our hands in praise. Brokenness that He might bind us up. Captivity that we might go free.
Glory to His name. All majesty, power, honor, wisdom and might are His.
“If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 NKJV).
Free indeed… this is my creed. Free in Christ. Freed by His love. Freed through His grace. Freed for faith. Free because I believe in Him who is my Freedom and my song. Free to love. Free to live. Free to trust. Free to abide. Free in Christ. I am Free.
Prayer: Lord Jesus thank You for this freedom You bought for me. Thank You for being the prisoner that I might be free. Lord You are wondrous, glorious, majestic, kind, faithful, and true. Jesus You are all I need.
Lord I have been captive these last few days… Captive to doubt and fear… Captive to the thought that I’m never gonna get this prayer thing… Captive to the fear that if I seek only You… I’m gonna look bad… I’m gonna fail… I’ve thought this relationship thing with You is only worth it for what I get out of it. Forgive me for using You Jesus. Forgive me for thinking I could buy the goodness of Your grace with piety. Today You are setting me free. Today You have spoken to my heart saying, “I Love You. You are my child. Be with me.”
Lord I confess that this vulnerability, this relationship, this engagement is hard. It is the hardest thing in the world, but also the most blessed. Lord be glorified in my life. Be magnified. Lord enter in. Have full reign in me. I grant You the freedom to use and spend my life in whatever way You please. Lord I know You are going to bless. I know the best is yet to come. I thank You for the freedom that comes with death to self. I thank You that You have me on this journey. Praise be to Your name.