In 1862 the day was looking dim for the Union Army. Three years of bloody civil war had rendered the soldiers bruised, battered, and eagerly ready for the war to conclude. Despite the gloom that hung over the Union one man still retained a a deep conviction for the morally right, Abraham Lincoln. With the pressure steadily mounting he issued one of the most brilliant military political speeches in history, a speech that would reshape an entire nation, a speech that would still be repeated 155 years later: The Emancipation Proclamation. In short the speech culminated in a beautiful declaration that all slaves in the rebellious states were “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” If you are a careful student of history you will quickly recall that this speech didn’t actually free anyone, but it did stir the hearts of those fighting the war. It changed the character, the heart, and the purpose for the war. The Civil War was no longer an attempt to preserve the Northern States; its purpose was revived in light of one single issue: freedom. What if I told you that 2,000 years ago Jesus issued His emancipation proclamation, the Gospel, in a synagogue of His hometown. “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who were oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
Those words carry a ring to it, especially if you hear the rattling of the chains sin has wrapped around your heart. You see if the birth of Christ taught that Jesus only identifies with the humble then His message of freedom only strikes a chord in the hearts of those who are captive, blind, and oppressed. Not in a physical sense of course, but in a spiritual sense. This is sensible and easily pointed out. We all have experienced or currently are experiencing the tempting lure to do something God has explicitly declared as wrong. You may call that rebellion and I would concur, however when does rebellion become slavery for you? At some point the reality sinks in that sin only promises false joy. What sin declares, it never fulfills. It never delivers, it never brings joy, it only brings shame, guilt, and pain. Yet you continue to submit yourself to it, like the addiction of a drug, the vice of sin pulls you down and locks you in. If you hear those chains rattling then hear the message of freedom and rejoice because what Jesus declares, He does fulfill. There is something radically different between Lincoln’s speech and the Gospel. Lincoln’s speech didn’t actually free anyone, it only encouraged people to fight harder, braver, and with more eagerness for a beautiful cause. The message of Christ is different because He doesn’t call you to work harder for freedom, He beautifully declares that He is your freedom. He can say this because at the cross He gave His life for your freedom. What Jesus says, Jesus does. Jesus is your Emancipation Proclamation, trust Him.