But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV84)
I’m free. I distinctly remember the feeling. My class had just completed a tour of the prison in Waupun, Wisconsin. Metal bars. Bolted doors. Barbed wire. Gloomy hallways. Armed guards. Even though I wasn’t a prisoner, I felt like one. Everywhere I looked, the law pressed down with crushing force. We spent hours touring the facility and listening to the stories of a couple inmates, sentenced to spend the next 20 or 30 years of their lives in this cold, depressing place. Just the thought made me shudder. When I walked out of the gloomy prison and into the bright sunshine at the end of the day, I looked back at that foreboding structure and couldn’t shake the thought. I can just walk away. I’m free. I had no desire to go back.
I think of how I would have reacted if, on my way out to the car that day, someone from the prison would have run up to me and begged me to serve a 30-year sentence in the place of one of their loved ones—if that were even possible. Of the million ways there must be to say “No!” I wonder which one I would have chosen. Never would I have placed myself under the law’s punishment for someone else, especially not after witnessing what that would mean.
Good thing Jesus isn’t like me. If he were, you and I would still be confined in our gloomy prison-house of sin, doomed to a life of despair and condemned to an eternity of misery. Instead, Jesus looked down from his heavenly throne, where he enjoyed perfect praise, unlimited power, and yes—absolute freedom. And at his Father’s bidding, he willingly set it all aside. The infinite God confined himself to an embryo and took on every limitation that came with it.
He placed himself under the heavy demands of a law that he perfectly obeyed, only to suffer as if he were the only one ever to have broken it. All so that he could walk into our prison—not just to take a tour and leave, but to serve the sentence of every single inmate there. He walked into our prison so that we could walk out.
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Not only has Jesus unlocked the door of our prison, but he has also unlocked for us the door to his Father’s house and brought us into his family. God’s Son has made you a beloved son or daughter of his Father, and every one of his Father’s blessings is yours, now and forever. Let that truth bring joy to your heart this Christmas.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for willingly placing yourself under the law to free me from its curse. Let me never lose the joy that is mine on account of the absolute freedom you have won for me. Amen.