We stayed at the resort town of Eilat after our trip to Timna and after we checked into our hotel, we were free to explore. Eilat was the most “western” city I would see for the rest of the trip as it had many of the well-known brands and shops that we have all come to know and many people, particularly on the promenade. The sight of the coast of the Red Sea with the towering mountain ranges of Jordan in the distance behind them is a sight I will not soon forget!
The next morning, we headed north past the salt mines of the dead sea, and towards Masada. Masada is an ancient rock fortress overlooking the Dead Sea. It was built for Herod the Great as a palace and refuge before becoming the site of the famed and tragic siege in 74 AD between the Romans and Jewish rebels. Despite knowing very little about Masada prior to the trip, it soon became one of my favourite locations as it felt like it was straight out of an adventure book; an impenetrable fortress built high atop a mesa in the desert, a small band of rebels holding out against the powerful Roman army.
It is remarkable that this relatively small fortress and the rag-tag band of rebels inside were able to withstand an assault from the Roman legion for roughly 6 months. As the historians retell it, on the night before the Romans’ final storm into the fortress, the Jewish rebels decided to end their own lives, as they preferred to die by their own hands than be slaves to the Romans. This devotion to freedom from the Romans reflected their belief that they were to inherit God’s promised land – and so they fought the Romans for that to the bitter end.
John 8:34, 35 NIV
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”
How fortunate are we then, that we know the true Gospel? Jesus did not come to free us in the way that the Jews misunderstood. Jesus did not come to overthrow Caesar or fight the 10th legion of Rome at Masada – Jesus came to topple sin and overthrow Satan. Our freedom is a freedom from sin and death, our victory has already been won and the bloody struggle has been enacted in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Today: Let us reflect on this notion; that we are free indeed. No matter the strife or struggles we face in our lives, our souls have already been bought by Jesus’ blood and we are free from sin and death. Whenever we face difficulties in our lives, we should take some comfort in the fact that nothing in this world can ever compromise our standing with God, and that even in death, we are free and one with God.