Breaking Free

The following is an excerpt is from our sermon, Alone. You can view the full sermon by clicking here:

The dungeon of death held Jesus’ body for three days. Those three days made Jesus’ journey into solitary confinement complete. For those three days Jesus’ body lay lifeless and alone in a borrowed tomb. Abandoned by the crowds, rejected by religious leaders, betrayed and disowned by his friends, forsaken by his Father, Jesus’ body languished alone in the icy grip of death. He experienced it all! He suffered it all, for you! He now knows the intimate details of solitary confinement. He’s lived in the same prisons you’ve lived in. He’s felt the same lonely anguish that you feel when friends and family reject, betray and abandon you. He’s suffered alone, grieving the same kind of losses you grieve.

His close friend, Peter, spent those three days in solitary confinement too: a stockade of shame. He’s thoroughly ashamed of his conduct, and he’s learned what we all eventually learn: that even though we despise betrayers, even though we hate betrayers, we are betrayers. Peter betrayed Jesus, just as certainly as Judas had done. Just as certainly as you have done. Just as certainly as I have done. He betrayed the friend to whom he owed everything. The weight of his own failure was crushing his soul. He desperately wanted to isolate himself. He wanted to get out of Jerusalem. He wanted to go back to the solitary life of fishing. He was through following Messiahs. He was done changing the world. He thought he was brave, committed, loyal and true; but he’s discovered that he’s cowardly, uncommitted, disloyal and false. He betrayed the best man he ever knew. The door of his dungeon slammed shut and locked behind him. And then this happened.

“But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened" (Luke 24:12).

Jesus escaped! Jesus didn’t stay dead! Jesus refused to rot in Solitary Confinement.  Jesus overcame, Jesus overpowered, Jesus slipped the shackles. And that singular act of courage, power, and strength showed Peter a hope that he had scarcely believed possible.

Peter now knows that he can do the same thing. Jesus’ escape from the solitary confinement of death, makes it possible for Peter to escape the prison of his sin and shame. Guess what? It’s the same for you and me! The empty tomb on that first Easter is proof positive that all of us can be free. We too, can escape the chains of solitary confinement, stockades of sin, dungeons of addiction, prisons of shame.

Prisons come in all shapes and sizes, but whatever your prison looks like, Jesus laid down his life to free you from it!