Breaker of Chains
by Rhonda Varley
Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:21
‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’
It hardly seems possible, but Christmas will soon be upon us. After a year of such pain, loss, and uncertainty, the festive season will bring some welcome relief for many. A chance for joy to permeate the gloom. Family and friends reunited, exchanging gifts and feasting together. I like many in the church at the moment, am preparing a preach for the Christmas period. As I studied, I felt God speak to me in ways I had not heard before when thinking about the Christmas narrative.
The tendency is to focus on the baby in the manger, the nativity story, but what about the man the baby grew up to be?
Jesus didn’t stay a baby and He came for a purpose. A purpose that is too easily lost sight of today in the superficiality of Father Christmas, décor and presents. Now before everyone screams ‘Scrooge!’ please don’t miss hear me. I am not saying enjoying those aspects of Christmas are wrong, but that if they become the sole focus, the meaning is lost.
When you take away the tinsel, the turkey, and the presents what are you left with? Where is the hope? What’s the point?
1. FREEDOM and FAVOUR!
Christmas is about the breaking of chains, freedom and blessing. The birth of Jesus is not to declare it is time to give and receive presents, it is a declaration that it is time to step into freedom!
Chains being broken, that is what we celebrate!
When Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4 and said; ‘today this is fulfilled in your hearing’. This is the good news to the poor!
That TODAY you can have freedom, today you can be healed and restored, today you can step into the favour God has for you.
This isn’t a once a year for one day only offer, only redeemable at Christmas. This is a gift open to all who will receive it and believe it, and it’s available now, and there is no greater gift than this.
How many times have we sung ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God’ while the chains of our sin, shame, addiction, abuse, finances or grief are choking the life out of us! Jesus says come to me, and I will give you rest.
Now, today, not when you have it all figured out,
not when you have got yourself straight,
not when you get it right all the time because try as we might we cannot break these chains by ourselves.
You cannot fight to win this freedom.
That’s why He came. Only Jesus , NOW, today, steps into our pain, breaks the chains and walks us through that pain into this freedom. We can carry on being a slave to our circumstances or we can walk with Him. This is what Christmas is about. This is the hope we have in Him that goes way beyond one day a year.
We can celebrate freedom all year, every year.
2. HEALING OF HEARTS
Jesus came to ‘bind the broken hearted’ nothing hurts like a broken heart.
I have experienced many broken bones, countless migraines, and six times experienced childbirth!
But none of that hurt like the grief of losing a parent, a child, a spouse, or of being betrayed by someone I loved. Not even close.
And every hurt from the past now in the present forms link after link in the chain that we carry, weighing us down, dragging us under.
There are no greater wounds that need to be bound like the wounds of the heart.
The one who can heal the broken heart is Jesus Christ. He heals the heart that has been broken by bereavement, by rejection, by guilt or affliction. Jesus came to bind up broken hearts, to release the prisoners from the darkness.
There is no pit of pain so deep, so dark than Jesus cannot pull you out of it.
2021 is going to be a year in which the world continues to groan over the desperate and times we currently live in; Covid-19 has killed over 1 million people worldwide; the economy is more uncertain than ever; the threat and acts of terrorism continue; racial tensions are rising; and everywhere we turn there will continue to be negative news dominating the media.
the breaker of chains,
the healer of hearts,
the God of the Universe
has stepped into His creation and declared the year of God’s favour is NOW! Today! If we only accept this as our present reality and walk in the freedom that He died to give us, as a freed people we will speak life and freedom into the lives of others who need the hope and life that can only come from knowing Him.
Breaker of Chains