She should have been stoned to death. That’s what the law warned was the consequence for her sin, but Jesus interceded on behalf of thewoman caught in adultery (John 8). Jesus did not leave the woman there in her sin, facing the penalty of her behavior. The woman was freed from the consequences of her sinful behavior. Though never wavering on the condemnation of the sin, Jesus called the woman into new life. Jesus delights in showing mercy to those who are captives. Jesus was not sent to earth to condemn the sinful; He was sent to earth to set His people free (John 3:17).
Jesus’ ministry on earth was full of teaching and healing. Jesus was able to meet physical needs around Him, but the greatest ministry was how He provided a way for spiritual rescue. By sharing the good news, Jesus shared the means of freedom for humanity. Salvation comes by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, He gained freedom on our behalf. His life on earth modeled how humanity is to live free from sin. His death freed us from the punishment we deserve over the sin we are bound to commit. His resurrection shows that we have freedom from eternal death.
When the Messiah came, the world changed. When Christ was born, freedom entered the world. Jesus was the promise that Isaiah said was on the way. He was the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken hundreds of years beforehand (Isaiah 61:1). He was here! Freedom is here.
Culture seems to correlate the word freedom with the concept of choice. Whether it is what restaurant you want to eat at or who you want to vote for in a political race, freedom seems to mean being able to choose what we want for ourselves. We live in a time when choice and individuality are applauded, which tends to twist the way we interpret the biblical use of the word freedom. True freedom, however, is given to us only through Christ. We have access to freedom now by trading in our own desires and living a life that glorifies God (Romans 6:11–23).
Freedom now looks like trusting in the Lord. As we submit to His ways, sin loses its grip on our lives. We are free from punishment for sin because of Christ’s atonement; we are free from the power of sin under the grace of God’s instruction. Christ’s power is far greater than the power of sin. Following Christ leads us into greater freedom. Shame and guilt are replaced with His perfect peace.
While in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus read Isaiah’s words that were spoken about Him (Luke 4:16–21). Jesus did not recite the entire prophecy; rather, He stopped after the word favor. This means that the prophecy will be continued in the second Advent. In His timing, Jesus is going to come again to fulfill the rest of the words that were spoken of Him. When Jesus returns, He will bring judgment on those who haven’t put their faith in Him, but He will also bring even greater freedom to those of us who have placed our faith in Him. We wait and hope for the day when the Lord returns and we will be fully free forever.