Part 3 of 4 – The Miracles of Christmas Series
At some point in life, most people have been in some kind of a prison. God came down to earth for the purpose of setting people free.
The American criminal justice system currently imprisons more than 2.3 million people! Now, even though there are millions of people in our prison systems, there are millions upon millions more that are in other kinds of prisons. Some prisons are made of steel bars and thick cement, while others are made of hurts that have happened in the past and poor choices that end up enslaving us. At some point, most of us have been in some kind of prison. And if we haven’t, unfortunately, we probably will be one day. That isn’t exciting to hear, but it’s the truth nonetheless.
The question isn’t, will we be in some kind of prison one day, because we probably all will be maybe a couple of times in our lives. The real question is, how do we get out of the bondage? How to get freed from the prison cell?
Christmas is about the miracle that Jesus came to set people free from all kinds of prisons. When Jesus went to teach in His local synagogue, that is exactly what He wanted people to know about Him. He was the one who came to set people free and continues to lead people to freedom 2,000 years later!
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”
Jesus Came to Free People of their Brokenness
The first group of people that Jesus came to free were those poor in spirit. Today, these are the people who are desperate to be forgiven of their sin. They understand they can’t free themselves from their selfishness. They are unable to forgive themselves and make themselves right before God. If something is NOT done for them, they will be spiritually lost forever. They are in a self-made prison of selfishness and sin and they need someone to rescue them.
Jesus Came to Free People Who are in Bondage
The second group Jesus came to free were those who couldn’t escape or get out of their own destructive way. These people were in the same type of bondage that we experience today. People in bondage are both dominated and controlled by what binds them. They are stuck and can’t get out. They make God a million promises never to do it again, only to continue to do the very thing they despise. They try to change on their own strength and power, but they fail time and again. And it is going to stay that way until someone strong enough and wise enough can break them out of their prison. The ONLY one with that kind of power is Jesus!
Jesus Came to Free People who are Blinded
Jesus also came to free those who are blind; in the New Testament the blind are those people who can’t see that Jesus is God in the flesh, and the savior of the world. Blind people are those who follow false teachers and false teaching, people who live in the ways of the world instead of the way of the Bible. They are people who trust in their religion of good works, attempting to earn their way to heaven, instead of trusting the work of Christ and the cross. When Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul to ministry, He told him to help those people who are spiritually blind:
Acts 26:17-18 …Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God…
Jesus Came to Free People Who are Crushed
Finally, Jesus sought to free those who were oppressed, those people who had been broken into pieces, shattered, and crushed. Suffering is timeless; it affected people thousands of years ago the same way that it affects us today. The oppressed have been battered by failure, disappointment, loss. . . the list goes on. Often, the crushed don’t know how to break free from the devastating feelings that accompany grief. Jesus came to shoulder those heavy burdens and allow us to lean into His power to make it through.
One of the truly great miracles of Christmas is that Jesus came to set people free from all forms of imprisonment and bondage. Whatever kind of prison you are in, Jesus can get you out! And because you are so grateful that Jesus came to the earth to save you and free you from so much junk in your life, invite someone to come to know Jesus. It would be the greatest gift you could ever give.
Talk About It…
- What are your first thoughts regarding today’s topic? Please share with the group.
- Share a story of a person that was in a kind of prison and how they got out.
- If you were given the chance to teach a passage of Scripture, what would you choose and why?
- Read Luke 4:18 and share what stands out to you in this verse.
- Share a time in your life when you were spiritually poor and you were not close to the Lord.
- Read Acts 26:17-18 give some examples of people who were spiritually blind and why.
- Of the four types of people in bondage share which one you can relate to.
- Read 1 Corinthians 9:19 and share what you think motivated Paul to tell people about Jesus?
- What changes do you need to make so that you can tell more people about Jesus?
Adapted from PursueGod.com series