Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.

Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this to indicate how he was going to die. John 12:23-33 (NLT)

One of the highlights of my birthday this year was shaking the hand of a young man (Oh, how young he looked!) who had just returned from his tour of duty. In fact, his parents had just picked him up from the airport. He mentioned being in Kuwait so I wondered if he had been part of the last Army units to leave Iraq. I thanked him for his service; for protecting my children and grandchildren and rejoiced with his parents that he was home safe.

Interesting word, “Freedom”.  When I think of the word and what it means in my heart, it is being free from oppression or enslavement.  But “freedom” isn’t “FREE”, is it?  History shows us clearly that “freedom” comes with a price.  The price is usually paid through the lives of our loved ones, sons or daughters, fathers, mothers, and spouses.
It cost Jesus everything, didn’t it?  His life, yes.  But it also cost Him what He valued most – His life with the Father.  When He took on my sins, He could no longer be in unity with the Father. It is hard for me to understand but Jesus had never not been with the Father and the Spirit. They had always been One. And yet God loved me, long before I loved Him; loved me so much that He would give all so that I could live free of the sin that entangles and binds me from living (Hebrews 12).

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”     Matthew 27:45-46 (NLT)

When I look at the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa and see the lack of freedom that I so take for granted, and listen to the stories of the elders in Hungary when I was there, I come back to the USA and I fall to my knees in thanksgiving for the gift that I was given by just being born here.

When I see people struggling to understand this life and all that is going on without the assurance of Jesus in their life, I fall to my knees in thanksgiving for the gift of mercy that Jesus has extended to me and I extend my arms out with the prayer that the mercy will just flow right through me and be received by those I love and those I have even yet to meet.

Freedom isn’t free.  Jesus paid it all.

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