NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The suspense grew like an orchestra reaching its crescendo. Waiting for the soldiers to hook the chain around the large statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and drag it down seemed to take forever. The crowds grew, the tension mounted and then finally the image fell to the ground. Of course by the time the soldiers made it to the center of Baghdad to bring down the statue, Hussein’s reign of terror had ended. Toppling the statue confirmed to the Iraqi people that his evil regime was destroyed forever.
I’ll never forget the images of the mob rushing the statue once it fell. Years of suppressed emotion poured from the Iraqis as they jumped up and down on the statue and eventually dragged its head through the streets. The fear of tyrannical retribution had once prevented any type of expression against Hussein’s government. Now, for the first time in decades, there was no fear, only freedom.
I often think about how the suspense increased in the week leading up to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. All the players were present. There was Satan, the leader of an evil regime. There was all of humanity living in fear and suffering the horror of spiritual oppression. There was Christ, the great liberator who by week’s end entered the depth’s of the enemy’s territory and emerged victorious over sin and death. All of Satan’s attempts to mount a resistance had proved futile. He tried to kill Jesus as a baby. He tried to steal from Jesus His glory through the temptations. He even tried to taunt Christ to save Himself from the cross. Nothing deterred or slowed Jesus’ march through history. His purpose was clear from the beginning. He came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to set the captives free. The empty tomb confirms to us the evil regime was destroyed forever.
Those of us who know Jesus have been liberated. We are free. There is no level of attack that the enemy can throw against us that we can’t withstand because Christ won the war for our souls. Christ never intended for us to coast on the heels of His victory. We live in a danger zone and if we don’t stay on high alert, sin will creep in and rob us of our victory. I love the vivid description of this in Genesis 4:6-7. God confronts Cain and says, “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain couldn’t master sin and kills his brother, the Bible recounts in the next verse.
I certainly don’t mean to elevate the U.S. military to position of savior; Jesus’ resurrection is much too significant for that comparison. But just as there were areas of Iraq that had not yet heard Hussein’s regime had ended, there are millions of people around the globe who have yet to hear that Jesus is their liberator.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom this week because of Jesus’ victory, find someone who is still living under the oppressive regime of Satan and share with them the Good News that Jesus won their freedom too.
Draper is president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.