Dr. Gordon one Easter brought an old beat-up rusty bird cage and sat it next to the pulpit. As he gave his sermon that Easter morning, he held up the cage and said, “You might be wondering why this is here. As a matter of fact, that’s not the normal part of an Easter service, having a bird cage here.”
He said, “Let me tell you the story of it. Several days ago I was noticing a little boy….whistling, walking down an alley, swinging this bird cage. Clinging to the bottom of the cage were little field sparrows he had caught. So I stopped him and asked, ‘Say, what do you have there?’ He said, ‘Oh, I’ve got some birds.’ ‘What are you gonna do with ’em?’ I asked. ‘Oh, mess around with ‘me, tease ’em, something like that.’ ‘Well,’ I asked, ‘when you get tired of ’em, what are you gonna do?’ He thought a moment and said, ‘Well, I’ve got a couple of cats at home, and they like birds. I think I’ll just let them have at ’em.’
Dr. Gordon said his heart went out to the little birds so he made the little lad an offer. “How much do you want for the birds?” Surprised, the boy said, “Mister, these birds ain’t no good.”
“Well,” Dr. Gordon said, “regardless, how much would you like for ’em?”
The little fellow said, “How about two bucks?”
He said, “Sold.” So he reached in his pocket and peeled off two dollar bills. The little boy shoved the bird cage forward, pleased with his stroke of good fortune. When the boy left, the pastor walked a good distance away, lifted open the little cage door and said, “Shoo, shoo,” and he shoved them out of the door and they flew free.
The empty bird cage was the perfect illustration of how Satan had the human race trapped and frightened. Jesus Christ not only paid the price for our freedom; He has set us free.
— from Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations