Today, I share one of my daddy’s writings.
It is an excerpt from an April 1998 sermon.
Let me share with you a story I recently read in one of the history books in my library. It was about a man named William Knibbs and how on July 3l, 1838, on the Island of Jamaica, he gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island.
They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, branding irons, chains, fetters of all kinds, slave garments and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcomed end.
At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, “The monster is dying.” At each stroke of the bell that followed this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. At the twelfth stoke 10,000 voices cried out, “The monster is dead, the monster is dead; let us bury him.”
They then nailed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.
There is a tragic side to this story.
While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves that lived in remote areas of the island that did not know they had legally been set free. Because they didn’t know, for many years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been made a law, they still continued to serve their slave masters. Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage.
Let me tell you an even sadder story.
If we heard a story like this happening today, we’d be shocked, sympathetic and even angered. But the same thing IS happening in our day. Jesus Christ, because of his victory against sin on the cross, has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of liberty and freedom from sin to everyone on this earth. But like some of the Jamaicans, there are those that don’t understand they no longer have to live as slaves to sin; and the devil tries to keep them in that mindset.
The message of the cross is this:
Satan has been defeated and sin’s penalty has been paid. We no longer have to surrender to sin or be controlled by Satan. We can belong to Jesus and live to please God. I am thankful that I have been set free by the Emancipation Proclamation of the cross.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because I am marked out by him to give good news to the poor; he has sent me to make well those who are broken-hearted; to say that the prisoners will be let go, and the blind will see, and to make the wounded free from their chains…” Luke 4:18