Jesus was a paradox. A paradox exists when the truth appears to contradict itself. In many matters, Jesus was a paradox. The specific paradox that underlies this lesson: Jesus was God's perfect servant, but Jesus was also free. Both statements about Jesus are true. Yet, how could he be God's servant (slave) and at the same moment be free?
Perhaps this paradox can be seen prior to Jesus' execution. As God's servant, Jesus committed himself to die on the cross because it was God's will. Yet, he wanted his disciples and the arresting soldiers to realize that human force did not "capture" him (Matthew 26:53). Jesus surrendered himself. Had Jesus requested help, twelve legions of angels would have defended him. A Roman legion was 6,000 men. God would send him 72,000 angels upon request. As Jesus said, "No one takes my life from me. I lay it down on my own initiative" (John 10:17,18). God's perfect servant surrendered to execution, but he was free.
Enormous differences exist between Jesus and us. One of those differences is seen in this paradox. Jesus was free, but Jesus made himself God's servant. He was never captured by evil. He did not need God to ransom him from his mistakes and failures.
We were not free. We were captured by evil. Our own mistakes and failures imprisoned us to evil. The Christian was a slave to evil. The Christian is free only by an act of God. God's grace expressed through His forgiveness frees us.
In one matter concerning freedom, we are like Jesus. Jesus had to decide how to use his freedom. As Christians, we have to decide how to use our freedom. Jesus did not use freedom to escape God's will. He used freedom to do God's will. God freed us to enable us to do His will. Only the deceived Christian tries to use freedom to escape servitude. That deceit destroys his or her freedom. God did not free us to indulge ourselves. God freed us to serve.
1 Peter 2:11-17
Why did God provide us release from evil through propitiation, atonement, redemption, and forgiveness? In propitiation, Jesus took our place to pay the consequences for our evil. In atonement, Jesus' blood satisfied justice for our injustices. In redemption, God used Jesus to buy us back from Satan and evil. In forgiveness, God used Jesus' blood to destroy our sins. Why? God did all this to free us and to allow us to live in freedom.
Did God give us freedom so we could live selfishly in any way we wished? No. God gave us freedom so that (a) we could fashion our behavior on God's purity and (b) we could treat other people in ways not possible when we were enslaved to evil. God freed us so that our behavior would be guided by love. God freed us so that we could serve people in love. God freed us to love with His love. God freed us to love with the love that guided and controlled Jesus.
Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 2, Lesson 10
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