In the Synagogue
On a hot day in Nazareth, Jesus rose in the synagogue to read from Isaiah that the Messiah would do wonderful things. Among them, He would set at liberty those who are bruised, bound head, foot, and brain by sin. They would be released from this bondage.
Right hand—free! Left hand—free! Right foot—free! Left foot—free! Right brain—free! Left brain—free!
We were designed for independent movement in the complimentary spheres of our human bodies. When we are shackled in any of these ways:
- Hands bound by cutting ropes,
- Feet bound together in iron chains, or
- The Brain frozen in place by icy lies and frigid philosophies,
the bondage seems not only wrong but unnecessary.
God did not give us two hands to have them tied. He did not equip us with two feet to see them chained together as one. He did not give us a mind that is both logical and creative for us to settle for truths that freeze the brain in place.
Contrary to Creation
To match these matching dual implements, He created within us a deep desire to touch things with both hands—to leave our unique fingerprints on the objects life presents us. He gave a desire to move, guiding our two feet in the paths we choose, those of righteousness or of iniquity. God gave us our two-phased brains—creative and logical—so that when reason is needed we can do that and when imagination is needed we can do that, too.
To be fully human is
- To touch meaningfully,
- To go purposefully, and
- To think deeply.
The dangers that threaten the hands, the feet, and the mind are many and they lie in the path of iniquity.
- We grasp and hold on to things that are destructive.
- We go places where evil is celebrated and goodness is mocked.
- We hold ideas—false logic and corrupt creativity—in our minds that take us down.
Bondage is the result:
- Hands tied.
- Feet shackled.
- Mind frozen.
Jesus is the only Liberator.
- His is the only one who can cut the ropes that tie us up.
- He is the only Chain-breaker.
- And only He has the warmth in His hot, healing blood to thaw the frozen brain gripped by lies so that His Passion and Reason can find residence there.
Salvation is the temporal restoration of the humanity sin has robbed from us. It is a foretaste of the New Creation to come. Through Jesus our hands are free to serve God and man. In Him our feet have been released to follow Him wherever he leads us. In the power of the Holy Spirit, the Muse of Heaven, we can create. Through the Mind of Christ in us, we can see and understand the love, law, and logic of the Kingdom of God.
On a hot day in Nazareth, Jesus rose in the synagogue to read from Isaiah that the Messiah would do wonderful things. Among them, He would set at liberty those who are bruised, bound head, foot, and brain. They would be released from this bondage. He told His hometown worshipers, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
We are free to worship God!
I cry to the Lord with my voice; to the Lord I make loud supplication. I pour out my complaint before him and tell him all my trouble. When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me. I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me. I cry out to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low; save me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name; when you have dealt bountifully with me, the righteous will gather around me.
He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Psalm 102:18-22 NIV
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.
Lord Jesus, You are my Deliverer! You snapped the shackles that bound and bruised my hands. You broke the irons that bound my feet. You cleansed my confused mind, releasing my reason and creativity. Your Spirit is a liberating force setting me free to love and serve You all my days—including this one! “My chains are gone!” Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Words and Music: John Newton / Chris Tomlin
1. Amazing grace How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
2. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone. I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
3. The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
4. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine. Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved