On September 29, 2012 America for Jesus is hosting a national solemn prayer assembly on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Christian leaders from across the nation will gather together to pray for the United States of America forty days before our national elections. I plan to be there, and I ask you to pray with us too.
This time of prayer will take place in the shadow of Independence Hall, the building where delegates from the original thirteen British colonies signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In this building, fifty-six brave men (including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams) mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to uphold the ideals of liberty. They risked their lives to bring our country freedom from tyranny. In the Declaration of Independence they proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Across the street from Independence Hall is a small building where the Liberty Bell is displayed for tourists. It is aptly called the Liberty Bell because when the Declaration of Independence was signed, the bell was rung in celebration. When the bell was forged, it was tradition to inscribe a verse from the Bible on every bell. It was as if the foundry prophetically knew that this bell would ring for freedom because the verse the foundry chose to engrave around the edge of this bell when they cast it was “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof.”
The quote on the Liberty Bell is straight from Leviticus 25:10, a verse that proclaims the freedom that comes during the year of Jubilee. Once every fifty years in ancient Israel, during the year of Jubilee, every slave was set free and every person in the nation had his or her debts canceled. The year of Jubilee was a time of independence.
Another famous day of liberty in our nation occurred when Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation on January 1, 1863. With a single stroke of his pen, he freed thousands of slaves. The captive were suddenly set free. The chains fell and African-Americans were able to take their rightful place in society as free men.
Yet both of these significant events in American history pale in comparison with a day two thousand years ago. On that day, Jesus made it possible for every person on earth to be free. Independence was the main reason Jesus came to earth. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me…to preach deliverance to the captives…to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). When is the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor? The year of Jubilee, of course.
Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth was to bring liberty and independence! When Adam sinned, he caused the entire human race to be put in bondage. Sin became the chains that kept mankind from fellowship with God. But, when Jesus died on the cross, He provided a way for every person to be freed from the bondage of sin. The Gospel is a worldwide emancipation proclamation of liberty from bondage to the power of sin. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots…” Our spiritual tree of liberty was watered once and for all with the blood of Christ. As we gather together in prayer for our nation, let us celebrate our independence that comes through Jesus Christ.
In America we live in a land of great freedom. In America we are free to gather together to pray. In America we are free to serve God. But, if we do not exercise our freedoms, we are no better off then those who have no freedom. On September 29, 2012 Christian leaders will gather together in Philadelphia, the epicenter of American freedom, to take advantage of our freedom of religion. We will humbly thank God for our freedom and ask Him to continue to bless our nation. Will you join us in prayer?