March 25 - March 31
Freeing the Oppressed – Man as Provider

“On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover.” - Numbers 28:16 ESV

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt decided to form the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The plan was to deploy three-man teams behind enemy lines in occupied territory to degrade Nazi forces by any means necessary, with the ultimate goal of freeing oppressed people.

After the war, the U.S. Army continued that strategic approach through its Special Forces, also known as the “Green Berets,” launched in 1952. The Green Berets have an incredibly high causality rate because they are on the front lines. These men are some of the finest warriors who have ever served in the military. As you know, I had the privilege of commanding that elite group, some 10,000 strong. The Latin motto of the Green Berets is de oppresso liber, which means “to free the oppressed.”

In the Israelite exodus from Egypt, God freed the oppressed. On the eve of that exodus, He instructed each Israelite household to apply the blood of a lamb without blemish to their doorposts and lintels. By doing so, they would be spared from the tenth plague God placed on Egypt—the death of the firstborn (see Exodus 12). That lamb’s blood that was shed and applied saved lives. God then instructed the Israelites to observe the feast of Passover so that they would remember His deliverance of not only the firstborn from death but also an entire nation from slavery in Egypt.

In the New Testament, there are numerous references and allusions to the Passover being fulfilled in Jesus. In fact, the Communion service we participate in as believers, commemorating the sacrifice of the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus, is based on that Passover meal. The apostle Paul makes the connection explicit when he declares: “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). When Jesus came as the Lamb of God, He became not only a deliverer of Israel but also the hope of the world. Through His sacrificial death on the cross and triumphant resurrection, He makes deliverance from the oppression of sin possible for anyone who trusts in Him.

Following His defeat of the devil in the wilderness with the Word of God, Jesus read Isaiah 61 in his hometown synagogue and declared His mission was to “proclaim liberty to the captives” and “set at liberty those oppressed” (see Luke 4:18-19 NKJV). Christ came as a liberator of the oppressed. How glorious to know this deliverance and freedom personally, and how exciting to share this message with the world around us. As we approach the celebration of Easter this week, may we remember that we who are set free from sin’s bondage are charged with the awesome responsibility of modeling this forgiveness, declaring His deliverance from oppression, and sharing the hope of the resurrection every day!

- As Christians, we believe that Jesus died and rose again from the grave. But are you living like you believe it? Are you providing a compelling witness to Jesus’ deliverance of us from our sins?
- How can you be more intentional in witnessing to Christ’s liberating death and resurrection? (Remember to take advantage of these Easter Talking Points as you celebrate with your family.)
- Pray for opportunities and for boldness to share the liberating message of the gospel this week!