(Jesus said) "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36
Do you know where you were on June 30, 2009?
Most of us would be hard-pressed to answer that question. Not so for Bowe Bergdahl. That was the day, five years ago, when the sergeant from Idaho disappeared from his base in southeast Afghanistan. For almost five years he has been held by the Taliban.
When he was released, the sergeant got into the helicopter, but found it was too loud for him to hear what anyone was saying to him. Sergeant Bergdahl found a paper plate and wrote the letters "SF" on it. It was his way of asking if the soldiers who were sitting next to him were Special Forces. When they nodded yes, the sergeant broke down in tears.
President Obama broke the good news to the sergeant's parents and the planned concert, which had been set up to help people remember Bergdahl's status, has been changed into a giant "WELCOME HOME!" celebration.
And if anyone wonders how it was that Sergeant Bergdahl has been freed, they will be told his release was part of a swap arranged by the country of Qatar. The sergeant was set free in exchange for five, high-ranking members of al-Qaeda whom the U.S. government had been holding at Guantanamo Bay. From what the news reports say, these five will not be given complete freedom, but will be held in the nation of Qatar under some sort of house arrest.
Almost since the beginning of armed conflict nations have been exchanging prisoners of war.
Generally, every attempt is made to assure the exchange is an equal one. I say "generally" because that certainly was not the case when the Lord made an exchange to win our release from the powers of sin, Satan and death.
If we were to be set eternally free from those who had stolen us away from our Heavenly Father, it was necessary for an incredibly high price to be paid. That price was offered up in the Person of God's innocent Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
So that we might be freed of our sins and their condemnation, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. In the years which followed He fulfilled God's laws and turned down every temptation placed before Him. His life ended after an unfair trial when, on Calvary's cross the Innocent died for the guilty, the Perfect for the imperfect, and the Valuable for the valueless.
Now, because of what Jesus has done, all who are given faith in Him are assured they will be able to stand before the eternal Judge and be found innocent of any wrongdoing. Indeed, they can rejoice that they are going to the home in heaven, which is awaiting them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once all of humanity was being held prisoner. So that we might be free, You sent Your Son into this world to offer Himself in our stead. May I always be given a thankful heart for His great and gracious sacrifice. In Jesus' Name I praise You. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries