DAY 4 - THE GREAT SPIRITUAL BREAKOUT

We all live in a prison camp of our own making, but Jesus has staged the greatest escape the world has ever seen.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

JOHN 3:16 (ESV)

OUR DEVOTIONAL

When the Nazis built the maximum-security camp 100 miles southeast of Berlin to house Allied aviators captured in World War II—many of whom had made previous escapes—they took elaborate measures to prevent tunneling…

The Nazis, however, didn’t account for the daring and ingenuity of the British, American Canadian and other Allied flyboys who toiled for nearly a year to construct a tunnel that would allow them to flee from captivity…

The process was tedious as the prisoners, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying forged documents, lay down on the rope-operated wooden trolley and were pulled one-by-one through the tunnel to their escapes. Fewer than a dozen men made it through every hour, and a partial tunnel collapse and a one-hour blackout during a midnight air raid further slowed the operation…

Around 5 a.m., a German soldier on patrol nearly fell into the exit shaft and discovered the tunnel. The prisoners inside scrambled back to the hut and burned their forged documents. The Nazis discovered that 76 prisoners had broken out of their supposed escape-proof camp.

The audacity and resourcefulness demonstrated by the Allied pilots was the stuff movies are made of, and the breakout was immortalized in the 1963 blockbuster The Great Escape…
(Excerpts from https://www.history.com/news/great-escape-wwii-nazi-stalag-luft-iii)

This was one of history’s most famous prison breaks. But I know of an even greater escape:

John 3:16 is almost universally known and recognized even by people who would not consider themselves believers or religious, and it is the key to the Greatest Escape humanity will ever know—escape from an enemy more cunning, powerful and deadly than the Nazis.

First we see the heart of Father God: “God so loved the world…” God looks at His creation and He loves us. His heart is connected to us emotionally. We are His workmanship, created to have relationship with Him. He gave us free choice so we can actually love Him; we’re not forced or manipulated as puppets or pawns. God sees His created ones living in a prison of our own making, and He is moved with compassion.

His solution is to send His only son, Jesus, as the solution to our imprisonment. Jesus is the propitiation, the payment, of our penalty. And this payment covered all; no one was left out. He did not say “whoever besides” or whoever except.” No, His love and His plan is all inclusive and is available to everyone.

Simply by believing, we get a spiritual breakout. We’re freed from the prison of sin and death. Whoever believes and receives Him as Lord and Savior will not perish but have eternal life.

This is the great promise of the resurrection celebrated at Easter. Jesus paid the greatest price, took the keys of death and hell from the enemy, and staged the greatest escape, completing the plan of Father God—that whoever believes and receives will have eternal life with Him, freed from the prison constructed by our own sinfulness.

FAMILY MOMENT

Pick up a favorite dessert that everyone in the family longs for and have it available. Read Romans 3:23 out loud together. Then using a game such as Jenga, or pick-up sticks, or something similar where perfection is required to win, let each member of the family try to complete the task. One chance and you must be perfect. Not perfect…no dessert.

That is a picture of us trying to live without sin. We all fail at some point. Now read Romans 6:23 and John 3:16. God’s gift to us is forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus. Since the price was paid, perfection was obtained through Him alone and not by our attempts. Now we can enjoy eternal life…and DESSERT! Let’s eat!

PRAYER & REFLECTION

  1. Ask yourself, “If Jesus has come to set me free from slavery to sin and death, am I living as a free person?”
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you connect emotionally to the price Jesus paid to purchase your life for Himself, and be grateful.
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to create an opportunity to share your Jesus story with another person before Easter.
  4. Pray today by name for at least one person you know personally who needs to believe in and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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