The wounded blackbird had fallen in our driveway. I was six years old and until then I never saw a bird that couldn’t fly. Dad picked it up carefully. He placed it in the veranda while we made a wooden box. The wooden box was a type of hospital for the bird to rest and the box was no bigger than a lunch box. It had a sliding lid on the bottom and some bars on top to let in the light and a flow of fresh air. Locked securely in this mini cage the bird was safe. We could look after it. One day its wounds would heal, it would be ready to fly again and be released.
I awoke early next morning taking bread and water into the veranda. As I approached the box I saw that the bird was dead. Skin raw-blooded-abrasions marked its orangey-yellow bill. Repeatedly through the night the bird had battered against the bars attempting to free itself, only to die in captivity. I reflect on that day. I see that it’s possible to fall into captivity and perish.
Forty years later, I sat in a conservatory reading a newspaper. A blackbird entered through a top opened window. It dropped to the ledge below. Turning quickly, it pushed the tip of its beak against the lower glass. Without moving a single feather its eyes stared piercingly outwards into the garden. Instinctively I walked slowly towards the bird with the newspaper half folded. If I startled the bird it would fly about erratically and bash itself against the conservatory windows. Very gently I began to slide the newspaper under its claws. Without turning its head, the bird mysteriously cooperated and lifted up its match stick legs to step onto the paper. All the time its yellow ringed eyes focused outward towards the garden and it stood absolutely still on the folded paper, allowing me to help. I delicately lifted the paper upwards from the ledge. I raised it above shoulder height leveling adjacently with the open top window. The bird siezed its opportunity and launched off the newspaper. It flew out of the window and perched itself on the garden fence. It appeared to be grateful as it tweeted its melodious low-pitched fluted warbles. The creature had fallen into captivity but escaped alive to freedom.
Which blackbird are you? The one who died in captivity or the one who made it out alive? Of course, you’re not a blackbird. But the stories do have something to say about our human experience. According to the Bible humankind is imprisoned by a fallen world. And there are but two options.
- Remain a prisoner and die in captivity
- Be liberated for a joyful life
Jesus Christ explains our best option,
‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’
These Christly words are pertinent. The Jews had experienced many years of captivity.
Bible history records how harshly they were treated when taken captive by the Egyptians. Years later the Jews were forced into a ruthless captivity perpetrated by of the Babylonians. Once more we read how they were conquered and humiliated by the Persians. And as Jesus spoke these very words of freedom, the people were again subject to a tyranny of the Roman Empire.
Throughout history the Jews had experienced liberation then they were taken back into captivity. This is the true human experience of freedom.
Mankind’s freedom is only a temporary freedom.
Military freedom is essential to the independence of nations, but Jesus knew that military freedom doesn’t last. Political freedom is essential to every democracy, but Jesus knew that political freedom doesn’t last. Inner freedom is required for peace of mind, but Jesus knew that inner freedom doesn’t last.
Therefore, Jesus informed us about permanent unbreakable freedom which we can have in relationship with God. Jesus told the world about a freedom which never ends.
Whoever the Son sets free, will be really free.
The freedom of Christ is a freedom which lasts. This is because it’s a Holy Spirit freedom. The freedom of Jesus, is a soul redeeming freedom. It’s a freedom with a heavenly legacy that cannot be eliminated.
Time cannot take God’s freedom away. Wars cannot take God’s freedom away. Politicians cannot take God’s freedom away. Terrorists cannot take God’s freedom away.
Religions cannot take God’s freedom away. Philosophies cannot take God’s freedom away. Worldly catastrophies cannot take God’s freedom away. Personal tragedies cannot take God’s freedom away. The grave in which our body is finally buried, does not take God’s freedom away.
With Jesus, you are truly, certainly and permanently free.
I’ll blog out citing my top 5 Bible verses on freedom.
- You are free to seek and find God Isiah 55:6 Amos 5:4 Romans 10:11
- Freedom is a unique privilege which is granted to every believer Psalm 119:45 Romans 8:21
- You have freedom from the penalty of sin 1 Thessalonians 1:10
- You have freedom from the permanency of death 1 Colossians 15:22-23 Romans 5:12-17
- You have freedom from the power of Satan, and from the dominion of darkness Colossians 1:13-14