So, being a former camp counselor, and—well—former kid, one of my favorite games to play was always Capture the Flag. Now, if you don’t know the gist of the game, then you probably grew up wrong. Okay, I’m joking. I’ll explain it. So, you have two teams on either side of a playing field. At camp, we divide the camp area in half. Each side is given a flag and chance to hide their flag on their side of the playing field. Now, once the flag is hidden, the game can start. Your object is to get the other team’s flag and bring it back to your side. To do that, you must cross into enemy territory, and once you cross that line onto their side, anyone on the opposite teams can tag you and take you to the designated jail. Now, the only way you could get out of jail is if one of your team members runs through and tagged someone in jail thereby freeing everyone captive in the jail to go back to their team’s side—free.
So, when I played capture the flag, I watched those who were brave enough to go onto the enemy’s side and look for the flag so they could bring it back and win the game. Then there were others who stayed on our side and tried to catch the enemy and put them in jail. I was neither. What I liked to do in Capture the Flag was wait until we had some of our team captured in jail, and I liked being the one to free them. It was an essential part of the game. See, if a lot of your players were stuck in jail, you had a weaker offense and defense. The only way to keep your team strong was to make a sacrifice and run at the jail guarded by the other team and hopefully find a way to free them without getting captured yourself.
It’s funny, but I look at a lot of Jesus’ teachings, and I see the theme of “freedom” etched throughout them. Freedom is actually a huge element in the Gospel because without Jesus, we are trapped and enslaved by the sin that entered into the world from the very beginning. So, I’m looking at John, and Jesus is teaching to a crowd on the Mount of Olives. As I’m reading, something sticks out.
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”
See, the Jews believed that because they were “God’s chosen people” and promised descendants of Abraham that they were cool. They had no worries. They were on God’s team. Free. Jesus had to pop their bubble. Remember these are the people “who believed in him”. They were on the road of following Jesus. They were going after that flag. Playing on the team, but Jesus says, ‘unless you are faithful to my teachings and know the truth, you are not free’. In Capture the Flag terms—you’re on the team, but you’re stuck in jail. And for the next several verses, Jesus tries to get them to see that fact—that just because they can see freedom, doesn’t mean they are free.
The difference between this and Capture the Flag is that the jail that sin traps us in doesn’t open the moment the flag is found. In fact, we so often stay in this jail watching game after game go on; rejecting the tag from our teammates who are trying to form a rescue party. We don’t see victory, because we don’t know Truth. We don’t know Truth because we don’t know Jesus a.k.a the Truth a.k.a the Son who can make us free.
So what are you a slave, too? You see, it’s more than reading your Bible and being a “good church member.” There is more to being a follower than being involved in small groups, Bible studies and religious media. Following Jesus means we allow him to be known in our lives. Our lives should be known by Him! It’s that instant when you go from being a slave to being a son; from being in jail back to your side of the field; from being a prodigal son to inheriting the promise from the Father.
Jesus is Freedom (Part One)| Guest Post written by AC Jones
To follow Rep Him (AC Jones) on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/repm516
To connect via Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/repm516
Check out his ministry via www.tbhministries.com