DayBreaks for 03/27/13 – The Ultimate Freedom Fighter
What is a freedom fighter? Wikipedia says: “A freedom fighter is a person engaged in a resistance movement against what they believe to be an oppressive and illegitimate government.”
It seems that today there is a lot of use of the term “freedom fighter”. We heard about them during the Arab Spring. Personally, I think the term is bandied around a bit to freely (no pun intended). It seems to get applied to those who are terrorists – not necessarily those who are fighting against what they consider to be “an oppressive and illegitimate government.” I think many of the radicals are simply in it for the power or profit. They want to impose their view and it has little to do with oppression from a government.
That being said, one could make the argument that the American colonists were freedom fighters. I suppose it could even be said that the Confederates were “freedom fighters” because they felt the government in Washington, DC was oppressive in trying to outlaw slavery. Call it as you like.
A closer look at one of the events of “Good Friday” sheds a bit more light on the idea of a freedom fighter and how it may have played into the death of Jesus.
Over the centuries, there had been numerous, self-proclaimed “messiah’s” who rose up. One was called Theudas (Acts 5:36) who believed he was Theudas Christ (Christ means “messiah” or “anointed one.”) Theudas claimed he could part the Jordan River and make the walls of Jerusalem tumble down. He, along with 400 followers, was eventually captured and beheaded in Jerusalem in a public spectacle. He was a “freedom fighter” to the Jews. Why? Because of the one criteria required: he was opposed to the oppressive Roman regime.
The book of Acts (5:37) also tells about Judas the Galilean, who appeared in the days of the census, and according to Luke, led a revolt against Rome (there’s that criteria again!). The Jewish historian, Josephus, say that this Judas is the founder of the Zealot party – of which Simon Zealotes, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples – was a member. (Some think that Judas Iscariot was also a Zealot.) Judas the Galilean was captured and crucified along the roadside near Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth with 2000 of his followers. It was a scene Jesus may have witnessed as a child, but certainly he was well aware of what happened to freedom fighters in Israel, having heard the story many, many times.
What does this have to do with Jesus? When Jesus was on trial, Pilate gave the crowd the choice: Barabbas or Jesus – who do you want freed? The outcry was seemingly unanimous: “Give us Barabbas!” Jesus wasn’t inciting rebellion against Rome – and everyone really knew it. And that’s what makes the apostle John’s description of Barabbas so intriguing: he uses the word lestes to describe the man: a patriot, a freedom fighter.
The powers that Satan mustered in Jerusalem that day we motivated to have their freedom fighter set free and the man who refused to attack Rome put to death.
Yet, it was Jesus who was the ultimate freedom fighter. He fought during this week not just for freedom for the Jews, but also for the Romans, the Cyprians, the Greeks, the Celts and Picts – but for freedom for every single human who had, was or would ever walk the surface of the earth.
Jesus – the ultimate freedom fighter – martyred for His cause…but who in a few days would rise again, having won the victory in the greatest battle ever fought.
PRAYER: We have no one to thank for our freedom but you, Lord! Thank you for fighting Satan, sin and death in our place – and for sharing with us your victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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