Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Current Study: Advent
Today’s Topic: Love
Scripture Reading: Galatians 4:3-5 We were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
What made him do it? He was a free man. Not only had he never been a slave, he had spent his entire life working to free slaves. So what made him voluntarily become a slave?
For years Jack had been the voice of truth and reason in his small southern community. But he was opposed to the slave trade that was ingrained in the everyday experience of the socialites with whom he lived. He took a public stand on his position. His words cut deep into the hearts of those who bought, sold, and owned fellow human beings. The respect that so many had held for him was soon rejected and turned into hate. In an attempt to discredit and discourage him, the town folks flaunted their slaves more publicly than ever. They lost all compassion and concern for the lives of the slaves, and soon physical mistreatment and abuse was heaped high upon the already crushed spirits of the slaves.
Then Jack did something incredible. It was unexpected and unbelievable to the slave owners and to the slaves themselves. Jack sent a letter to the owner of the slave market. In the letter he referred to the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi had been the sixth king of Babylon in 1790 B.C. In this Babylonian law it was written that “an individual might sell himself into slavery.” So Jack suggested to the slave market owner that he would like to be sold as a slave. The slave trader agreed, accepting Jack’s contingency that in exchange for his slavery, one slave scheduled for sale that day would be set free.
On the appointed day, Jack placed himself on the trading block in the town square, and the bidding began. The hatred of the people directed at Jack for trying to stop slavery soon boiled over into enormous bids. Everyone wanted their chance to get their hands on Jack. They truly thought that this would silence him.
But they had not counted on the power of love. After the sale, as Jack’s clothes were torn from his body and he was literally dragged away in chains, the announcement was made that the next slave up for sale would not be sold, and instead would be set free. Everyone shouted in angry disapproval until the slave trader held up his hand and told them that the purchase price for Jack included the freedom for one slave. When asked why he would do such a thing, the slave trader replied, “It wasn’t my idea. It was Jack’s.”
The crowd went silent. Heads hung in shame. One by one they turned and walked away until only Jack, his new “owner”, and the freed slave were left. Then, with tears streaming down his face, the slave reached out and hugged Jack and simply said “Thank you.” Then, turning to Jack’s purchaser, the slave said, “Master, I would like to become your slave as well on one condition: that you set Jack free.”
The slave owner fell to his knees and cried out to God in heaven, “How can I resist such love?” He stood to his feet, unshackled Jack, and released him and the slave. They were both free.
What made him do it? Love. The same love God displayed when He sent His one and only Son to the earth. From the freedom of heaven He was born under the law so that He might set us free from slavery to sin. And for those who have been set free, that same love of God is to flow through us to bring the hope of freedom to those still in the bondage of sin. So I ask you, how will the love of Jesus be seen in you today so that someone is set free?