Statue of Spiritual Liberty

Mark 10:29-30  “…no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…and in the age to come, eternal life.”

   I spent this past Memorial Day with the “huddled masses” in New York City visiting the Statue of Liberty.  The full name is the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, and it became a symbol of freedom and a beacon of welcome for immigrants looking for a new, free and more promising life.  What hope these immigrants must have had, and how excited they must have been to see that immense statue looming 305 feet above the harbor as they approached this new land of promise.  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  These words from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet which are found on the statue’s pedestal remind me of Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Because of His work on the cross, we can enter into a new, promising life of spiritual freedom.  The cross is our spiritual statue of liberty.  We are freed from our old way of life, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6).  And we are promised a fuller life now and eternally, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

     Immigrants risked their lives and left families and loved ones behind for the hope of a new earthly life.  They endured rough ocean crossings, hunger and thirst to get here.  Once they arrived, they had to be disease free and prove they could earn a living in America or they would be turned back.  Many that were let in had to deal with language barriers, were met by swindlers seeking to take advantage of them, lacked the money to prosper, and after 1924, quotas and restrictions were placed on the number of immigrants allowed.  For some, this new life represented by the Statue of Liberty would be a disappointment. But for those who look to Jesus, the cross and God’s Word for their liberty, this hope will not disappoint (Romans 5:5); it will be even greater because He is “…able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20); no one will go spiritually hungry or thirsty, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty”  (John 6:35); there will be no language barrier because reading God’s Word gives light and understanding (Psalm 119:130); and there will be no quotas, restrictions or rejections “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life…” (John 6:40).   Immigrants fled to the U.S. because of the good news they read or heard from others who had gone ahead of them–news so good that they were willing to give up everything for this earthly change.  But only Jesus’ finished work on the cross can bring both present and eternal change.  The cross is the true beacon of hope and freedom.  Is the news we share about Jesus so good that others are willing to give up everything to gain the freedom and full life He promises?

What might be lacking in your witness to others?

How are you leading them to the Good News in God’s Word?

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