Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil — and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15
I was riveted some months ago when I watched a South African mini-series called The Book of Negroes. The true-story revolves around a woman named Aminata. She was kidnapped in Africa and then became a slave in South Carolina. She had to survive the complicated times of the American Revolution in New York, isolation in Nova Scotia, and then the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, in an attempt to win her freedom. Aminata was instrumental in keeping records of the movement of slaves throughout the Eastern colonies, chronicling the struggles of each one to try to gain their freedom. The Book of Negroes exists today in the National Archives in London and Washington, D.C.
The capture of innocent men, women, and children in Sierra Leone, their horrific voyage across the sea, the disregard of their families in the colonies, and the lengths to which mankind will go to enslave others for their own benefit, is both shocking and unforgettable. It didn’t take long in the dozen episodes to bond with Aminata and to enter into her pain of enslavement. At the time I watched it, I had the flu and proceeded to watch the whole thing in a day. All throughout it, at various times, it appeared she was on the edge of freedom – only to be captured again. The ending is one of the most beautiful endings of someone’s story I’ve ever witnessed in real life or on screen.
Why does the story of slavery resonate in our hearts? And why should the topic move us to outrage and then to involvement in the cause of setting others free? There are many reasons but I immediately think of two. 1.) It still goes on today for those who are sex trafficked all around us. It’s at our back door. 2.) And, we know firsthand what it is to be enslaved to our past, enslaved to an addition, enslaved to our enemy, and enslaved to our flesh.
Jesus came to share in our experience with the devil. He made Himself vulnerable to his temptations, taunting, and torment. He, who once exercised the power to cast Him out of heaven, became One who suffered under Satan’s schemes. Why? To walk in our footsteps. To prove how much He loves us. To face the same temptations and show us how to win spiritual battles with His enemy. To show, through live illustration, the weapons available for our victory. He came to destroy the works of the evil one and to free those (you/me) who were held in slavery all our lives by fear of death.
It is way too easy to disengage emotionally and read words like slavery and the power of death without feeling anything. Perhaps I’ve gotten way too used to my freedom and a life that is fueled by the power of the Spirit. I get lazy and believe that I am the one who is powerful and good, that I am above slavery. It is good to ask God often to show me who I would be today, and would have been, without Jesus and the power He exercised to free me from slavery. If He made a movie of my life, perhaps He would show me a different ending ~ the one that ‘would have been’ without the cross and His incarnation.
In all the ways this subject affects me, melt my frozen heart. Amen
**Too see the series’ preview, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoC3V000e1g