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Weekly Devotionals

Weekly Devotion: What Easter Teaches us about Freedom

Mathew 27:27-31

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

As I meditate on the significance of this past week, I’m struck by how many times Jesus willingly chooses to let others dictate the outcome of his life. At any given moment, he could have shown his true nature and taken control of the situation.  He could have at least pleaded his case to Pilate as a last resort but chooses to remain silent before his accusers.  Instead, throughout the events of Passion week, we see Jesus as utterly powerless and unable to affect the circumstances in which he finds himself.

As I reflect on my life this past week, it’s not an exaggeration to say my primary motivation and my default mode is to maximize control.  I don’t even give it a second thought.  I have an insatiable need to control my life, my kids, my wife, my work, my ministry, even people I come into contact with.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I get everything I want.  The point is that I can choose what I allow to let into my life and what I allow to affect me.  If someone has control over me, it’s only because I choose to let them.

I don’t think I’m alone either.  One of the abiding values of our generation is the freedom of choice.  From birth we are inculcated with freedom as a moral imperative.  For those from Western cultures, the ideals of freedom are institutionalized in legal and constitutional frameworks and implicitly imbued in cultural norms.  If someone forced me to marry someone or go into a particular profession, let alone if a restaurant forced me to drink Pepsi instead of Coke, I’d feel violated to the core.  Admit it, we hate it when someone forces our hand and we lose control.  The recent Indiana law, on both sides of the debate, is primarily about our freedoms and who has control over whom.

The Bible has so much to teach us about what true freedom is.  For today, I ask that we focus and reflect back on the life of Jesus during his last week as a man.  We see that his primary motivation wasn’t control and power.  Whereas I like to maximize my options, we see Jesus praying “not my will but yours be done.”  When tortured and wrongly accused, we see Jesus choosing to let others be wrong without violating their freedom to sin.  As a parent, I often wonder how much of my disciplining of my kids is in their interest versus my need to control them and take away their freedom to be wrong.  In the end, Jesus allows himself to be crucified and releases all control and breathes his last.  He even asks for forgiveness for those that choose to crucify him.

I’m humbled to serve a God that doesn’t use his infinite power to control me or force me to be good. He’d rather die and let me make that choice for myself.  That’s pretty amazing if you really think about it.  His master plan to save the world isn’t to take control, but rather to leave it in the hands of his followers.  I can’t fathom how I forget this simple lesson every single day as I strive to do the exact opposite of what Jesus modeled for us.  If Easter teaches us anything, it should remind us of the power and life that comes from losing our freedoms.

Alex Lim