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                Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there lived a little slave-girl.  She was an average little slave-girl, ragged and dirty.  There was nothing really spectacular about her.  She didn’t have any special talent, nor was she exceptionally beautiful.  She was just a regular slave-girl.  She wasn’t a slave-girl by choice, neither did she fall into slavery, nor was she taken captive.  No, she was a slave-girl in a family of generations of slaves, as far back as she could trace her family had been a family of slaves.  Slavery was so ingrained it was in her very nature.  But she didn’t want to be a slave.
          Though life as a slave was tolerable, it was hard, sometimes very hard.  It was not so much the physical assaults, the occasional sickness, or even the poverty that made it so hard.… no it was more the mental torture of what it meant to be a slave and the echoes of the Slave-master’s voice, “you are nothing but a slave, you are nothing.”
          At night, however, when she lay in bed at night, she could hear the whispers of the wind saying, “you can be free.”  And something would stir in her heart… a longing, a craving, an insatiable hunger to be free.
          One morning after a night of listening to the wind the little slave-girl decided to find out how she could be free.  And this is what she found.  There were three ways she could pay for her freedom; death, strictly following the “Code Book to Freedom” and someone rescuing her by paying her price.  Well, death didn’t seem like a viable option.. and well… being rescued didn’t hold much luck either; who would want to rescue a dirty little slave girl, with nothing to offer but the debt of her slavery.
          So the little slave-girl decided her best option was to follow the Code Book.  And she did, she cleaned herself up, did her jobs without complaining and began to practice all the character traits the Code Book said she had to have… kindness, patience, self-control.  The Slave-master passing by, would stop and watch her as she followed the Code Book, would cross his arms, stand back and wear sinister smile on his face.
          One day the Slave-master approached the little slave-girl.  “So, you want to be free.”  The little slave-girl nodded her head.  “And you have been following the Code Book.”  More eagerly she nodded again.  “Well,” said the Slave-master, “let’s go to the Magistrate.”  So she took his hand and together they walked to the Magistrate’s office, hope building in her heart that she could be free.
          She presented her case to the Magistrate, he nodded and listened.  “I see, you have been following the Code Book, you look nice and clean, you work hard without grumbling and what patience and kindness you’ve shown.… very good indeed.”  The little slave-girl’s face broke out into a smile, but before she could jump for joy at her new found freedom the Slave-master spoke.  “Yes Magistrate, she has done all those things, she even has excellent self-control, but… she harbours hatred in her heart and as much as I’d like her to be free, you know that disqualifies her.”  The Magistrate looked at the little slave-girl and she hung her head and left.
          Returning home the little slave-girl purposed in her heart that she would try even harder and one day, one day she knew she would be free.
          Year after year this pattern continued.  She and the Slave-Master would go to the Magistrate with all the good things she had done.  And Yes she was good, but the Slave-master would remind them all that she just wasn’t quite good enough…. Never quite good enough… her debt of slavery was too high a price…  she was never quite good enough to pay it.
          And then came Jesus…
One day He came to the little girl’s house.  He knocked on her door.  As she opened the door a rush of wind blew in, she smoothed the hair out of her eye and looked into the face of Jesus, He said, “I understand you want to be free.”  Confused and a little shy, she nodded her head.  Then Jesus said, “I can do that for you. Can I come in? I’d like to tell you about it.”  Though puzzled and a little unsure, something deep in her heart remembered the wind; she stepped back from the door and let him in…
They sat together at the kitchen table.  Although the little girl was quiet her thoughts raced with questions, ‘What is He talking about?   Free me?   How can He free me?  My debt is so high, the cost exorbitant.  ….and besides, I’m just a dirty slave-girl, I have nothing to give back, I can’t repay.  And I’m never good enough.’
          As if reading her mind Jesus told her how very long ago, before anyone could remember, her ancient parents were not slaves and lived in paradise.  As a matter of fact her ancient parents were of THE Royal Bloodline and that meant she wasn’t really a slave but truly royalty.  And that He, Jesus, was of that same royal bloodline and that not only was He ENOUGH to pay the price of her slavery, He wanted to.  Really, really wanted to and all she had to do was say so.
          She listened, her mind reeling.. ‘this makes no sense, I’m nothing, nothing but a slave girl’.…    Jesus placed His hand over hers… she quieted….shyly she looked up into His face…. Hope stirred in her heart… she slowly nodded and barely spoke. “please rescue me”
          Jesus, stood up, “well good then” and He took off His coat and put it on the little girl.  The little girl sat there, stunned as Jesus began to rearrange the furniture in her house so He could move in,  he dusted off a few shelves, found a few blankets and made himself a bed on the couch, then He went to the kitchen to make supper.
          The little girl regained her composure.  “But what do I have to do?”  Jesus stopped what He was doing walked over and crouched down in front of the little girl.  He held her face in His hands and looked piercingly into her eyes.  “You don’t have to do anything.  You just wear my coat and I will take care of the rest.”  Jesus then walked over to where the little girl had put the Code Book.  He picked it up and as He put it away on the shelf He said, mostly to Himself, “I’ve got this one covered.”
          Jesus and the little Girl lived together and worked together; Side by side, day after day.  Whenever the little girl hurt herself, Jesus would make sure she got all bandaged up.  When she was hungry, He fed her.  When she was tired He let her rest.
          Jesus would also tell the little girl stories… stories of paradise, stories of His Father, stories how He and His Father made this rescue plan long ago, just in case the little girl’s ancient parents got tricked by the Slave-master.  How they did get tricked by the Slave-master.  He told her how the land she lived on really wasn’t the Slave-master’s it was actually hers and how He would buy it back for her.  He told how precious she was to Him and how much He loved her.  And how He could easily pay the price of her slavery, because He was of the Royal Bloodline and was ENOUGH, and she didn’t need to worry.
One day Jesus told the little girl that soon they would be going to the Magistrate’s office.  Fear gripped the little girl, “the Magistrate, she had forgotten all about him.”  Jesus, gently put His arm around the little girl and pulled her into a close embrace.  “Don’t worry,” He said, “I’m going with you.  You just keeping wearing my coat.  I’ve got this.”
          It was hard not to worry, but she trusted Jesus so she went to sleep that night dreaming of the Magistrate, the Slave-master and Jesus.
          A few days later, the little girl (wearing Jesus’ coat), and Jesus walked hand-in-hand to the Magistrate’s office.  What the little girl found strange is that even though the Slave-master walked with them, he walked on the other side of the street.  And he looked a little scared.
          Once in the Magistrate’s office Jesus led the little girl to the side bench to sit down.  The little girl, confused said, “but I have to go before the Magistrate.”  Jesus bent down, pulled His coat a little tighter around the little girl’s shoulders, looked her directly in the eye and said, “No, not today.  I’ve got this.”
          The little girl sat perfectly still, the court room was quiet, she held her breath as Jesus and the Slave-master stood before the Magistrate.  They just stood there, silent.  The clock ticked in the background.  The Magistrate looked at Jesus, Looked at the little girl wearing Jesus’ coat then looked to the Slave-master.  The Slave-master never said a word, NOT ONE WORD.  The Magistrate grabbed his gavel and crashed it on the table.  “She’s free.” 
The little girl was stunned.  Then she watched as Jesus and the Slave-master turned away from the Magistrate’s desk.   She saw as Jesus looked right at Slave-master and said, “You took my little girl.  And I AM GOING TO CRUSH YOU.”  Then He turned and walked over to the little girl, took her hand and they walked out of the Magistrate’s office never to return.
          That afternoon Jesus explained all had happened in the Magistrate’s office.  He told her that the price of her slavery was paid.  That she wasn’t a slave anymore, that she was free and even if she still wore the chain of slavery for a little while longer she could live as if she was free.  He told her that one day, not today, not tomorrow but one day that chain would come off.  He told her that He would keep the promise He made to the Slave-master.  The Slave-master would be destroyed, and then she would live in total peace and paradise would be restored.
          But in the meantime, while she waited for that one day, she needed to keep His coat on.  And if it seemed like a long time and things got hard she needed to remember that He would ever leave her and He would always, always, always take care of her. 
          And as the sun set over the little girl’s house, still wearing Jesus’ coat she curled up on Jesus’ lap.  As He gently rocked her He told her how much He loved her and how precious she was to Him and almost pleading He said “don’t ever forget, don’t ever forget what I promised you.”  Half between awake and asleep the little girl mumbled, “I won’t forget, I promise, I won’t forget…….. and just before sleep took her the little girl whispered, “I love you too.”  And there in the arms of Jesus she fell asleep to lullabies sung to the music of the wind…
“The Word of God has spoken we are changed forever, the Word of God has spoken WE ARE FREE.  We are running to salvation, we have been delivered the Word of God has spoken WE ARE FREE.” (Travis Cottrell)

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