AN AMAZING FACT: Simon Bolivar was South America’s greatest general. He is known as “the great liberator” because his victories against Spain won independence for Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and a country that bears his name, Bolivia.
In 1824, after Bolivar helped Peru win its freedom from Spain, the great general called for a convention to draft a constitution for the new country. After the convention, a delegation approached Simon Bolivar and asked him to become their first president. He gracefully declined, saying that he felt someone else deserved the honor more than he. But the people still wanted to do something special for Bolivar to show their appreciation for all he had done to free them from the oppression of Spain. So they offered him a gift of a million pesos, a fabulous fortune in those days.
Bolivar thoughtfully accepted the gift and then asked how many slaves there were in Peru. He was told that there were about 3,000. “And how much does a slave sell for?” he wanted to know. “About 350 pesos for an able-bodied man,” was the answer. “Then,” said Bolivar, “I will add whatever is necessary to this million pesos you have given me, and I will buy all the slaves in Peru and set them free.” He added, “It makes no sense to free a nation unless all its citizens enjoy freedom as well.”
The Bible teaches that Jesus came into the world to set captives free. Near the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus attended the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day and read from Isaiah’s prophecy about Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, 19).
On another occasion, when the Jewish leaders claimed that they were in bondage to no one, Jesus explained that “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). But He assured the people, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (verse 36). There is true freedom in Christ alone.
Are you truly free?
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. Romans 6:18