1 Story -- "The Rescuer"
Version 3 of 7: "The Freedom King"
SYNC claims that this world has a story, and it is not simply a story we humans are making up as we go along. It is a story God is unfolding. It has a flow and a rhythm.
We can pick up that rhythm if we look at the Bible as one long story. That is what "The Rescuer" does, condensing 1200 pages to two so you do not get lost in the details. Don't approach the Bible as if it were a rulebook or a textbook on religious doctrine. It is basically a story.
The Freedom King (version 3 of "The Rescuer")
God, the Real GOD, creates a beautiful world with life everywhere. He gives the first humans, Adam and Eve, freedom to enjoy it all, except for the fruit of one tree.
An enemy of God cons them into thinking they should be free to eat it, and they do. Instantly they lose their freedom--freedom to hold their heads high, to enjoy life without working, to give birth without pain, to live forever, and to have face-to-face visits with God. From there things go downhill for generations—each generation seeking to regain freedom, none able to find it.
So starting with Abraham, God launches his own freedom restoration plan. Abraham’s descendants, the Freedom Tribe, will bless the world with the freedom known by people who trust God like Abraham did. Sorry to say, the Freedom Tribe soon gets enslaved and oppressed in Egypt. They can’t free anybody, even themselves.
So God frees them his way. Through Moses he sends so many plagues on Egypt that the ruler finally decides the whole Freedom Tribe is a curse. He frees them just to get rid of them.
God gives them victory over other tribes that were living in the land of their destiny, polluting it with vile customs like child sacrifice. For centuries the Freedom Tribe lives there, but their trust in God does not last. They are carried off as captives to Babylon, and God has to free them again, bringing them back to their land after 70 years.
Do you know what keeps them going through all their ups and downs? Their prophets who tell them that one day God will send the Freedom King, the “Messiah,” to deliver them. He will be a descendant of their most famous king, David, and he will be born in David’s hometown, Bethlehem.
In God’s time, it finally happens. The Messiah, Jesus, arrives and issues a daring proclamation: “This is it! God is setting us free now! Follow me and see what I mean.”
Many people assume he is hinting at starting a revolution against the Roman Empire, which ruled over the Freedom Tribe at that time. The crowds love him, but the leaders do not trust him. They arrange with the Roman governor to have him executed for blasphemy and treason.
Instead of rallying his many followers to rescue him, Jesus sacrifices his freedom to win ours. And, oh, how he wins it! His death as a willing sacrifice frees us from our sin debt to God, and on the third day, God frees him from his tomb!
Then Jesus takes his freedom mission to a new level. He shows himself alive and well several times before ascending to take his throne in heaven as the Freedom King. Soon he sends his Spirit down into his followers, empowering them to spread his freedom and mercy all over the world.
Some people welcome their freedom message, but others, often the powerful people, keep interfering and arresting them. It has been the same ever since, but the freedom messengers do not give up or shut up. They are able to show the mercy and courage of Jesus because his Spirit lives in them.
They also know the secret. Unannounced, the Freedom King will suddenly come back to earth in person to complete the freedom mission. Evil is doomed.
So that’s our story. That’s why we live the way we live and tell this story to anybody who will listen. As Abraham’s heirs and Jesus’ messengers, we spread Christ’s freedom and show people what a free life is.
If you have already said, “I’m in,” Jesus Christ has set you free from all kinds of things and turned you into an agent of freedom. So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
Yes, God is the great promoter of human freedom, not the great restrictor. He is proactively working his freedom restoration plan.
Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around Jesus, who declared freedom and sent all his followers to keep declaring it and showing what it looks like.
Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit, life, and power into me, plugging me into the freedom mission and the Freedom Tribe that goes all the way back to Abraham.
Yes, I am a freedom agent—setting people free from their obligation to pay for what they did to me. I am forgiving them just like Jesus has forgiven me.
Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to get me through any loss of freedom I may suffer because powerful people don’t want to hear the freedom declaration.
If you have not yet said, “I’m in. Sign me up for the Freedom Tribe,” what else would you like to discuss about this story before you would say yes to these things?
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He makes you a free person and gives you a role in his freedom restoration plan. That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “God is setting us free now!”
You won’t get to run your own life or build your own kingdom any more, but you will be both freer and better connected than you have ever been, and you will know why the name Jesus means, “The Real GOD sets free.”
Note: There are seven versions of “The Rescuer” story, one for each SYNC season. Each version comes at the story from a slightly different angle. This is the “Freedom Season” version. Others are not on the web site but you may preview them if you e-mail us a request.