“I loosened it for you.” We say this when we cannot open something on our own and require some help. It is hard sometimes to admit that you need the strength of someone else, to admit your weakness in not being able to break open a tight hold.
My attention is drawn recently to the process of freedom for two men. Note that I said process. In both instances there was an immediate declaration, yet they had to endure some steps to make it all the way to the other side.
Lazarus had died. We are all pretty familiar with his sisters sending a message to Jesus, yet He waited a couple of days. So we come to the prison cell of a tomb where a man is in the bondage of death…with no escaping on his own. “Lazarus, come forth!” Yes, this awakened the man, setting him free from death’s hold. However, there was more that needed to be done. “Loose him, and let him go.” Being set free from death’s shackles brought him out of the tomb, yet not out of his grave clothes. It was a process.
Peter had been imprisoned by Herod, and he was guarded by sixteen soldiers. As he slept between two of them—bound with two chains—an angel appeared to set him free. “Quick, get up!” The chains fell to the floor. He was free from what was holding him. Yet, as the angel continued to give instructions, we find that there was more to it. He had to put on his clothes and sandals. Then he had to wrap his cloak around him. Finally, he had to follow the angel out of the cell.
Peter could have been content with the chains falling off of him, yet he was still in the cell. Lazarus could have been raised and left in the grave clothes, alive yet with the appearance of death. Do you want to be partially free? Or do you want to shake off all of the old shackles that may have been broken once, yet you still carry them around?
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, not to be entangled again in the yoke of bondage. We cannot break free on our own; we cannot even loosen the jar. However, once Christ has opened the door, we must choose to step out of the cell. How bad do you want it?
Father, thank You for freedom! Help me to follow You each step of the way, through every part of the process. I don’t want to sit in a prison cell, looking at the chains on the floor. I want to go all the way to the other side. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.