36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8)
Recently my family and I had a chance to watch a move named, “Freedom” . The movie was about a family attempting to escape slavery in the southern states of USA to the free Canada in the north, through the renown Underground Railroad.
I didn’t realize though that the movie was a bit age inappropriate for the younger ones. One of them was woken up by a nightmare that night. The mistreatment of the slaves is extreme, and should not be done to anyone.
On the more positive side of the movie experience, I have to say that I just stumbled on it as I was searching for something for us to watch together. The title, “freedom” attracted me and the curious me wanted to know what about freedom it was talking about.
On one part, the movie told of the third generation of slaves escaping from their owners, while it paralleled it with the journey of the first generation from the slave port in African to the slave market at the shores of America on the other.
The story has a nice ending where the slave family finally crosses the border to the free Canada with the help of some Christians. This freedom is worth celebrating, but I also saw in the movie some other kind of freedom that could easily escape the notice of a casual watcher.
There are two notable characters in the voyage of the slave ship from Africa to America. One was Newton, the ship captain and the other was Ozias, the interpreter. Newton was a freeman, while Ozias was a slave, with a collar around his neck.
Ozias was in the ship to assist the slave traders communicate with the slaves from the point of purchase and through the whole journey. He had a very endearing character of being an encouragement to others, both the slaves and the traders. He spoke, and sang hope to the hopeless and sobering truth to the conscience of the proud.
Ozias’ faith in God was from a personal encounter with Him, as he had shared with Newton at the beginning of the voyage. Newton on the other hand did not believe in God, as he sang once, “If you are drowning in the sea, will God keep you afloat.”, and as he told Ozias, “I’ve learnt to expect nothing from God.”
At some point in the journey, there was a big storm that threatened to wreck the whole ship with all on board. Though the storm eventually calmed down, Ozias was one of the victims of the storm. He succumbed to effects of battling with the storm, but not before reminding Newton that it was God that had saved them. Interestingly, this time Newton concurred.
On his deathbed, Ozias, with the captain beside him was still smiling, a character that had distinguished him free indeed though still an earthly slave. The captain, though considered a freeman had until that night been a slave of his “privileged heritage”. As Ozias breathed his last, and on his, Newton’s, part cut the collar on the neck to free him, he also became truly free calling Ozias his brother.
The captain who had previously not believed in God had his own encounter with Him that night, an experience that transformed him from that day. He was truly free and that became his last dealing in that trade. He went on to share of his conversion during his wedding that followed soon after he went back home.
That story, especially the two characters really spoke volumes to me in that area of true freedom. This is an issue I’ve been wrestling with asking, “When one becomes born again, do they of necessity get free from all adverse circumstances?”
Reading from that experience and those of many faithful believers, it doesn’t seem to be guaranteed. But what does that mean? It seems to me that if you are in union with Christ, it doesn’t matter your circumstances, He is with you in whatever you are to go through.
“…20Each one should remain in the situation he was in when he was called. 21Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let it concern you— but if you can gain your freedom, take the opportunity. 22For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman. Conversely, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.…” (1Cor 7.)
In light of the freedom Christ in us brings, other circumstantial inconveniences of this life become shadows. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)”
I do recognize that freedom from slavery is an emotive topic, but the pursuit of that freedom is outside the scope of this post. My focus is the freedom that is universally available to all that would believe in the true freedom Giver, Christ Jesus!
“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,” (Luke 4:18)”
The Lord open our eyes to true freedom!