God comes to save and set us free. (Isaiah 30 vs. 8-17; Acts 12 vs. 1-17) - A Theological Reflection
We are trapped. This world traps us. The poverty around us traps us. Our riches set trappings for us. There is no freedom. The natural thing to do is to escape. God foresaw this danger and he had a plan to set us free. This is why he sent his only son. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3 vs. 10)
The world, though, is set on a collision course with its maker. Our rulers have set the pace. They even prescribe what the messengers of God should say to them. If they say harsh words they are disciplined. The arms of government surveillance structures monitor the activities of men and women of God. Little do they know that they are spying on God himself! Nations have suffered many a disaster without knowing the very actions of their leaders are undermining the existence of their nationhood. God is not amused. He is angry. Our leaders behave like they own us, like they own the land given them to steward by God. They choose who to give land and who to chase away. God is watching.
Recently here at home we have been shocked by the news from the chief magistrate that all those cases under their jurisdiction which involved beatings, killings and abductions during the last elections are to be abandoned. The perpetrators should be set free. I am sure those involved in these heinous acts will celebrate all the way to ‘freedom’. I use that word freedom advisedly. What kind of freedom is it which absolves you for abusing other people’s liberties? God does not forget. He can only forgive. He forgives those who ask for forgiveness.
This part of the world is not a stranger to witnessing men and women who have murdered and have been sent to jail and only to come back and start all over again. The state frees them but the community is not amused. Our reality is that when a member of a family has killed someone the whole family settles only when they have settled the matter with the aggrieved family. There is no way out of this trapping. No amount of prayer and wishing away the case can help the situation. What has to be done has to be done. Repentance comes as a package. When we have owned up and done the necessary rituals then can we be able to accept lasting pardon. The Lord then sends us away with this message; “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”
In the local language we say (Kugona ngozi huiripa), meaning, the only way to settle such cases of murder is to pay reparations to the concerned family. This has happened and many of us are witnesses. The Bible does not stop people from paying their debts. The aggrieved family has to forgive you and in many of our cultures once a symbolic payment is done there is forgiveness shared with a meal or a drink. We ignore this culture to our disadvantage. We carry on with guilty written all over our lives. Many a preacher has discouraged us to ignore our realities and we have lived pseudo lives of Christian perfection which is only a pipe dream. The scriptures are very clear, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5 vs. 17)
When Peter was due trial the Angel of God visited him in jail (Acts 12 vs. 1-17). Peter was advised to wake and dress up for eventual release. He could not believe that. He later realized that it was God’s Angel. He followed the instruction and left the jail. The guards could not stop this escape because it was initiated by God. They went to sleep and did not see Peter being led out of prison. God comes to set us free. He freed Peter. God saves and frees us from all sorts of bondages in life.
The Lord we worship is all powerful and all knowing and can control even nature. He is the Lord who walked on water because he has power over the forces of nature. When Jesus walked on water to get to the boat Peter thought he could do the same. (Matthew 14 vs.22-36) Jesus gave him permission but what Peter did not realize was that he was not God. He was tempted to lose focus and he fell into water. Jesus has the freedom to walk on water. He who has all the freedom has come to save and free us. In him we are saved and free indeed. God bless.