Freedom No. 4: Acceptance
Our freedom from rejection was established by Jesus on the cross. When Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46), He took the pain of all our rejections—so we could be accepted by the Father and by others.
No one but Jesus can erase the pain of rejection or satisfy the need for acceptance. When you are in right relationship with God, rejection has no sting.
You can love others despite what they do to you if you know your Father accepts you. His approval is more powerful and more important than any man's disapproval.
In Old Testament times, before Jesus came, the Jewish high priest performed an annual ceremony on what the people called the Day of Atonement that symbolized God's taking our rejection (Lev. 16:7-22). More than any other feast, the Day of Atonement is symbolic of Jesus' work on the cross.
For the ceremony, the priest took two goats from the Israelites. He sacrificed one and sprinkled its blood on and before the mercy seat as an atonement for sin. He took the other, the scapegoat, and laid both his hands on its head. Then he confessed all the iniquities, transgressions and sins of the children of Israel, symbolically putting them on the goat's head, and sent it away into the wilderness.
Too often, when rejected, we try to make someone else our scapegoat. We blame our mother, father, pastor, boss or someone else.
But Jesus is our scapegoat. He took all the rejection we will ever experience on His own head, making us "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).
When you experience loneliness and pain, you can look to Jesus because He experienced that kind of suffering as well. No one was there to help Him on the cross. Yet in His aloneness He began to praise God, quoting from Psalms 22, 31 and 69.
You, too, can praise God during your hardest and most difficult times. Carrying rejection will cause you depression and loss of joy. But Psalm 16:11 says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy." And Nehemiah wrote, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). So give your burden to Jesus; He carried it for you!
Freedom No. 5: Righteousness
The Bible tells us that on the cross Jesus, "knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst!'" (John 19:28). You might ask, what does Jesus' being thirsty have to do with freedom?
He bore all our thirst, or lust—emotional, physical and mental—on the cross. Jesus took it all to free us from sinful lusts and replaced it with His righteousness. The Bible says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). God wants His children to be free to enjoy the peace, joy and righteousness we have in Him.
It's also important to understand that Jesus went to the cross as our faithful High Priest. Hebrews 2:17 says, "It was necessary for Jesus to be like us ... so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God, a Priest who would be both merciful to us and faithful to God in dealing with the sins [suffering] of the people" (NLT). Today, Jesus stands next to the Father making intercession for you.
Freedom No. 6: Victory
Jesus purchased our final victory with His sixth utterance. When He gave His triumphant shout, "It is finished!" (John 19:30, NKJV), He was announcing that the battle was over and our victory secured. He conquered death, sickness, nature, the devil and every situation. Because we are identified with Jesus' death and Resurrection—we too have victory over everything we can possibly face.
God used the events surrounding Jesus' death to confirm that Jesus had finished the work of atonement. The veil's being torn in two gave us access to the throne of God (Heb. 4:16). Christ's resurrection provided proof that God had accepted Jesus' sacrifice. His taking a position at the right hand of the Father demonstrated the value of His work and the Father's pleasure in His Son. His sending the Holy Spirit made provision, on an ongoing basis, for the church to learn how to apply the freedoms and benefits of Christ's atoning work.
Freedom No. 7: Contentment
The final word of Jesus was for our contentment, faith, confidence and love. When Jesus yielded His life to the Father in payment for our sins, He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46). In saying this, He released us to enjoy one of our greatest freedoms—the ability to rest in the arms of our Father and God. How blessed we are that His Father is our Father. We can now put our entire life and being confidently into God's hands. We are to follow His lead by completely surrendering to God.
When Jesus presented Himself to God, He also presented us. He prayed, "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us" (John 17:21). Jesus did this so that we would be safe in God's Presence. Like Jesus, we can have fellowship with God, regardless of the circumstances!
His Death—Our Freedom
Each of the seven last statements made by Jesus demonstrate God's supreme power and His foreknowledge of all that was to come.