The past few weeks have been remarkable in the Middle East. My family has no television at home, so when we took a short family trip to the Wisconsin Dells recently, my wife and I found ourselves transfixed by CNN’s reporting in Egypt. We were watching on the edges of our seat, certain that we were witnessing history as a people stood up to their brutal dictator and demanded he step down, demanded freedom. With bated breath, we watched the development of the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. A week later, the protestors succeeded in forcing their president to step down. Demonstrators gathered, chanting, “Egypt is free! Egypt is free!”
What will play out in Egypt is unknown. But for now, we can rejoice with the people of Egypt in their new-found freedom. We can hope the events of the past few weeks (simmering for decades) will lead to democracy and long-lasting freedom for Egyptians.
In the midst of my rejoicing half-way around the globe, I have been thinking about freedom and what it means to be truly free. I cannot help but think that the freedom gained in Egypt in the end is merely temporal, that though free in one sense, they are not fully free at all.
True freedom is found in and through Jesus Christ alone. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said to the people, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Knowing Gospel truth will set us free. Jesus is the truth. The truth is revealed to men through Jesus’ word, the Bible. Truth sets us free. The dictionary definition of ‘free’ is “enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery.” So, from what does the truth sets us free? In John 8:34, 36, Jesus answers this very question, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin…So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Here we see clearly that in Jesus we are free from sin, for without Christ, all are enslaved to sin. Furthermore, it is Jesus, the Son, who sets us free through His word, the truth. Further yet, it is freedom that is complete and permanent, which lasts into eternity, for He says “you will be free indeed.” My prayer is for all men and women around the globe to know not just freedom from the tyranny of men, but to know the true freedom that is found in and given by Jesus Christ, a costly freedom that was bought by His precious blood shed on the cross.