Isaiah 61:1b He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…
I didn’t know it at the time, but my name and telephone number were etched on to a wall inside a cell of the local police station. At some point, I must have helped someone in the Scottish town I was serving, and he or she had marked it on the wall. Perhaps they had been drunk and disorderly, or had been caught stealing lead from the church roof or shoplifting. Whatever the circumstances were, I may never know, but years later, when I returned to Maybole, someone told me that my name was still etched on the prison wall.
I can remember a time when I received several calls from a few shady characters in the town. I helped them as best as I could, but I didn’t realize that the manse telephone was being circulated throughout Maybole’s underworld. It was just a small town of 6000 people, but we did have a few frightening families and unsavory personalities. I guess they latched on to me because of my own alcoholic background.
I love the fact that Christ can be our Deliverer when we are prisoners to sin, addiction, and darkness. He has the capacity and power to set us free from the shackles of our problems and the chains of fear that we all experience from time to time. Isaiah’s prophecy reveals to us a Savior, who is very much in control of the world and in whose justice, mercy, and grace we can all rely.
We don’t need a number etched on our self-imposed prison walls to liberate us. All we require is Christ in our hearts and He will see to the freeing of our souls.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all commit crimes against God which we call sins. Sometimes those past mistakes depressingly imprison us, shackle our souls, and shatter our dreams. Come to us, Lord, and free us from our fears, release us from our anxieties, and cleanse us of our sins. In Your Holy and Liberating Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.