Summary: The Centurion had purchased his freedom at a great price, but Paul was born free. Our freedom has been purchased at great price by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
By Pastor Jim May
Acts 22:25-28, "And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born."
Your were born free as an American citizen, protected by the Constitution and product of the Declaration of Independence. You were born free, but it came at a great price.
The Roman Centurion knew the price of freedom. He had fought many battles, maintained his allegiance to Rome and to Caesar, and had paid a huge sum of money as tribute to gain his freedom. He counted the cost and thought freedom was worth the cost.
Are we counting the cost of freedom today? Though we are born into a free country, let us not forget that many paid a heavy price for our freedom. It wasn’t cheap.
Our country was brought forth by a document known as the Declaration of Independence that was signed by 56 men who put everything on the line for freedom.
Of the 56 men, 5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another 2 sons were captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds of hardship of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty. At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelsons home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered George Washington to open fire on his home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s beside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields were destroyed. For over a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home only to find his wife had died and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.
The birth of our nation wasn’t easy but came about after much hardship and bloodshed. The cry went forth and men answered the call to join the ranks of those who desired freedom from tyranny.
Slogans have been used to fire up patriotic fervor so that Americans would answer the call to arms in many of our great conflicts that have kept us free.
In WWII is was “Remember Pearl Harbor”
In the Spanish American war it was “Remember the Maine”
In the war between the Republic of Texas and Santa Anna of Mexico is was “Remember the Alamo.”
After the 2001 attacks the uniting slogans were “United We Stand” and “God Bless America”.
In WWI it was “Together We Win”
Do you know what the slogan was during the American Revolution? It was, “No King but Jesus!”
When you think of how our founding fathers lived and believed there can be no doubt that America was founded on Christian principles. Every day now we are losing that foundation. Cracks are appearing and the country is being separated by the different factions.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, "…, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:" We better enjoy our freedom while we can because there’s coming a day when those freedoms will be taken away, and it seems that we are destined to fall because of our own unwillingness to pay the price for freedom.
All through our history as a nation there have been men and women who would answer that call to arms. Some would gladly volunteer, while some may go reluctantly, but they still went, and they all paid a heavy price for our freedom today.
That Roman Centurion could have identified with these that paid so much, and even gave all they had for the price of their freedom.
Paul said, “I was born free”.
He also understood what it meant to have freedom and guaranteed rights as a citizen of Rome, and he was quick to invoke the rights of his birth. His birthright caused the Romans to cease from torturing him, for to torture a citizen of Rome without just cause and the permission of the courts of Rome, was a crime punishable by death.
But I believe that Paul had another kind of freedom in mind too. He was born free, or should I say, “born again and set free” by the blood of Jesus Christ.