Did You Know You Were Free?


By: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV)

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

This is a day for a dual celebration; Father’s Day and Juneteenth. Let me be the first to say Happy Father’s Day and Happy Freedom Day or Emancipation Day! Since this is a special day for men, let me have a conversation with them. Women, you can listen in, but this one is for the men. Let me first congratulate, then encourage and offer my support to you, whether you’re a biological father or not. As men, our role is to provide for and protect our families, to help build our communities, and reshape the world. It’s our duty as father’s and as free men.


In the text, we see three men hanging on crosses being crucified. Two were being justifiably punished for their deviant behavior; the other because of hate, fear and misunderstanding. Two were guilty, one was innocent. But this was an unprecedented day. Never in the history of the world had God Himself died. Never had one lost soul been saved at the last minute. That day, Jesus proved that your past does not stop you from having a future! It doesn’t matter where you come from. You could be a descendants of slaves, the product of psychological deprivation, from a dysfunctional family, an inferior education, grown up poor, be unemployed or underemployed, or enduring anything else that was designed to break and to kill you. None of it means that you have to perpetuate a life of broken families, fatherless homes, poverty or incarceration. No! There were two thieves. One was set free, the other condemned…, by his own words. Did you hear the conversation with the repentant thief on the cross? “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Freedom is available to everyone. The cycle has been broken!  Did you know you were free? Happy Independence Day, and Happy Father’s Day!

Be Blessed +++


Author: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. http://tobtr.com/s/7436671, or by phone at 646-226-1448. You call in and listen without speaking.

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