Five hundred years ago, a man was trapped. He lived in a repressive society of unjust social stratification. There were the haves and the have nots. Wealth, money, and opportunity did not trickle down to the masses. The dream to create a better life for yourself and your family seemed so elusive to so many. There were the educated and the non-educated. Quality schools were for the privileged, not for the marginalized. There were institutions, and there was everyone else. Institutions grabbed power and wouldn't let go, even if that meant oppression, conflict, and war. The church wasn't helping; in fact, the church was the problem.
But the greatest reason he was trapped was a reason you would not quite expect. He tried to be a better person. It was a noble goal, but there was a problem. He was never good enough. He even gave up a promising law career and gave away his possessions. He tried leaving his family to sort out his life. He tried doing more good deeds for others. He tried being more spiritual. Nothing was good enough. Nothing worked. Nothing gave him freedom.
That man was Martin Luther. Five hundred years ago, it finally dawned on him. What he thought was the solution was actually the problem. He thought he could find freedom from all his problems by being a better person. Ironically, that only led him to focus more on himself, which was the problem in the first place. He needed freedom, and he finally found freedom outside of himself. He found freedom in a Redeemer.
Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor is named after Martin Luther because his story is our story. In fact, it's the story of everyone. We all want to be good people, but somehow it's never good enough. We all are trapped. We all want freedom. Ironically, the more we try to get out, the further we dig ourselves into a hole. We need a redeemer who comes from the outside. A redeemer is one who sets you free, and one who pays a price to do it. Martin Luther rediscovered the message we still stand on today. Stop trying to be a better person. You don't have to. Jesus is your Redeemer, the one who sets you free by living the perfect life you cannot. He paid the ultimate price: his own life. When he died for you, he has declared that you are not a good person, but a perfect person. Your status is not about what you do, but about what Jesus has done for you.
Find freedom the unconventional way. Find freedom in a Redeemer at Redeemer.