I like stories, and I guess Jesus did too because He chose to tell stories. Today we call them parables, like The Prodigal Son, The Good Samaritan, etc. Stories can carry meaning beyond the bare facts, and they can stir emotions at the same time. I came across a story recently by a great Baptist Pastor A. J. Gordon which I want to share with you this Easter.
One day, A.J. Gordon, pastor of Clarendon Church in Boston, Massachusetts, met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. Gordon inquired of the boy, “Son, where did you get those birds?” The boy replied, “I trapped them out in the field.” A.J. Gordon then asked, “What are you going to do with them?” “I’m going to play with them,” replied the boy, “and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.”
It was then that Gordon offered to buy them. The lad exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds and can’t sing very well.” Gordon replied, “I’ll give you $2 for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, it’s a deal,” said the boy, “but you’re making a bad bargain.” The exchange was made, and the boy went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. Gordon took the cage, walked around to the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire coop, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue. The next Sunday he took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost — paying for them with His own precious blood. “That boy told me the birds were not songsters,” said Gordon, “but when I released them, and they winged their way heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!'”
What a picture of redemption!
We were trapped in the cage of sin with no hope to save ourselves, and people would say we were not worth much. But Jesus purchases our pardon with His own blood when He died on Calvary’s cross. We have been redeemed. We have been set free when we receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s son.
At this Easter season, let us remember what Christ did for us in paying the price for our sin on Calvary’s cross. And then as God raised Him from the dead on Easter Sunday, He is there to set us free from sin and death and give us the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven.
May this Easter be for you a time of freedom!
Gordon was the pastor of Clarendon Street Church in Boston, which when he came, was in poor spiritual condition. One night Gordon fell asleep while preparing his sermon and had a dream. In this dream, he was preaching to his congregation, when a man walked up the left side looking for a place to sit. He wondered who the man could be. The man did find a place and sat next to one of the regular attendees. After the sermon, the stranger left, and Gordon asked his parishioner who the man was. His answer, “Don’t you know him? That was Jesus of Nazareth. He has been here today, and he will come again.”
When he awoke, Gordon realized that it was not important what men thought about his ministry, but only what the Lord Jesus Christ thought. It caused him to review how he preached, why he preached, and what he preached. He realized the most important person he had to please was Jesus Himself. His life and ministry would never be the same after that. He began to preach as he believed would honor Jesus. His church became one of the most vibrant, mission-oriented churches in the nation. He also eventually founded a seminary to train students in the “Higher Life,” which bore his name.
Gordon was close friends with three other giants of the faith, D.L. Moody, A. B. Simpson, and Dr. Charles Cullis. He was one of the most prominent leaders in Moody’s Northfield conventions In his work “Ministry of the Spirit,” Gordon presents the work of the Holy Spirit having three aspects: sealing, filling, and anointing. He was also strongly impacted by the theological writings of Asa Mahan. Through his relationship with Cullis, Gordon became a staunch defender of divine healing. In 1882 he published his book “The Ministry of Healing,” in which he asserted that healing for the body was part of the atonement. Using Psalm 103:3 “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases,” (KJV) and Matthew 8:17 “He himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases,” (KJV) Gordon concluded that divine healing for the body was included in the atonement, along with the forgiveness of sins for the soul. His church held regular meetings where the sick were prayed for.