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COLUMN: Jesus came to set you free

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By Steve Gettinger | Risen Lord Lutheran Church

Listen to these words from the gospel of Luke, chapter 4 verses 14-21:
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
A quick look at this world and the history of mankind reveals that this world is sick and is groaning under the curse of sin.
Our world is infected with the virus of sin. We see and hear about the virus almost daily: adultery, murder, rape, child abuse, slander, lying, stealing, etc.
As Christians, we too find ourselves infected with the virus of sin.
For example:
- We sin when we fail to fear, love and trust in God above all things.
- We sin when we hide our faith.
- We sin when we lust after people or things.
- We sin when fail to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22).
God will not be mocked, you will reap what you sow.
If you sow to please the sinful nature, you will reap destruction; if you sow to please the Spirit, you will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8).
I have some good news for you. I know the one who has the cure for the virus of sin that infects each and everyone of us. That someone is Jesus Christ the son of God. Jesus is the one who fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy made so long ago. He is the fulfillment for you and for me. Jesus came to cure the virus of sin, because sin is the one thing that separates us from a right relationship with our heavenly father.
Without a right relationship with our heavenly father, we are headed for an eternity in hell, where there is weeping and untold suffering. Our heavenly father saw our sin sick condition and out of his love, he sent his son Jesus to cure us. But the cure was not free for God, it cost him dearly, it cost him his dearly beloved son. When Jesus was hung on the cross, he hung there for us.
On that Roman cross, Jesus did a spiritual blood transfusion on us. He took our sin-tainted blood and gave us his perfect sinless righteous blood. Why? He did it so that we could spend an eternity in heaven, instead of an eternity in hell.  Jesus’ perfect righteousness is given to us as a free gift, to each one who has faith in Jesus. It is faith in Jesus that wraps you in the robe of Jesus’ righteousness, so that when God looks at you he does not see a person riddled with the virus of sin. God sees a baptized child wrapped in Jesus’ perfect righteousness. Today, if you realize that you are sick with the virus of sin, I encourage you to receive the heavenly medicine of God’s forgiveness. Bring your sin to him, confess it with a repentant heart and God, who is faithful and just, will forgive you of all your sin and purify you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
I would like to close with an illustrative story about a guy named Sam.
A guy named Sam died and found himself sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what he thought to be a courthouse. Listen to his story in the first person:
“The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I walked in, I looked around and I saw the ‘prosecutor.’ He was a villainous evil looking person. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat my defense attorney. He was a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me. The corner door opened and there appeared the judge in full flowing robes. He had a commanding, awesome presence as he moved across the room. I could not take my eyes off of him. He took his seat behind the bench and said, ‘Let us begin.’ The prosecutor rose and said, ‘My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man, Sam, belongs in hell.’ Satan began telling all the sinful evil things I had done…the lies, the thefts, the cheating, the perversions. The more he spoke the lower I sank in my seat. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, especially my attorney. The devil told of sins that I had completely forgotten about. I was upset at myself for doing those things. I was upset at Satan for telling all these things about me, and I was upset at my attorney who sat there silently not saying a word. Satan finished with a fury and said, ‘This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged, and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.’ Then my attorney asked the judge if he could approach the bench. The judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan. As he got up and started walking, I was able to see him in his full splendor and majesty. I realized why he seemed so familiar; it was Jesus, my Lord.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the judge, ‘Hello, father,’ and then he turned to address the court, ‘Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won’t deny the charges and allegations against him.  And, yes, the wages of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.’
“Jesus took a deep breath and turned to his father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, ‘However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life. He has faith in me as his savior, and he is my baptized child.’
“‘His name is written in the Book of Life, and no one can snatch him from me.’
As Jesus sat down, he quietly paused, looked at his father and said, ‘There is nothing else that needs to be done. I did it all at the cross.’
The Judge lifted his mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. 
The following words flowed from his lips, ‘This man is free. His penalty has already been paid in full by Jesus. Case dismissed.’ As Jesus led me from away from the judgment seat, I asked him if he ever lost a case. Jesus lovingly smiled and said, ‘Everyone that has come to me in faith has received the same verdict as you. ‘This man is free.  Case dismissed’”