Among the delicious treats you tasted on Easter Sunday, there may have been the surprise release of Freedom, the most gospel offering from pop superstar Justin Bieber.
The six-track EP lobbied all platforms on Sunday, with prayers as outros on individual songs, guests including mega-church preacher Judah Smith, and overt lyrics about Messiah paying the price for his personal sins.
Like fellow artist Kanye West, Bieber’s own relationship with Jesus and Christianity has been in the tabloids for years.
The 27-year-old has spoken openly about personal struggles such as drug addiction and being arrested multiple times in 2014, while regularly filling his social media feeds with references to his own faith. Previously mentored by Carl Lentz, the now disgraced pastor of Hillsong NYC, Bieber is the kind of “Christian celebrity” people can laugh at or dismiss – without knowing the real substance of his personal beliefs or convictions.
Also like West and his Grammy Jesus is king album, Bieber’s latest release is an explicit songbook about the Jesus thing.
Recorded during a three-day editing period, Freedom‘S Easter release comes with a’ 3:16 ‘timestamp on the album cover – an apparent nod to John’s famous 3:16 verse.
“On the third day, yes, you got up… And you conquered death once and for all.
On the title song, Bieber runs with some of the main themes of Easter as he sings about spiritual blindness, the devil’s lies, and what the Messiah “erased”.
“We are looking for all the answers; We in search of living water
Too blind to see the Messiah; Are you tired? Are you tired?
Running empty, feeling the fire; Mm, the devil is a liar
History is already written; Children, you’re forgiven (yeah)
You couldn’t do anything to change that; And everything you did he erased it
Yeah, he took it all and threw it in the desert ”
Bieber becomes more direct on Where are you going i am: “On the third day, yes, you got up… And you conquered death once and for all.
“I pray for everyone listening to this song right now,” Bieber says at the end of track three. We are together. “I pray for peace. I pray for joy. I pray for confidence. I pray for reassurance… God, I am just praying for an overwhelming feeling of your presence with them right now, an overwhelming sense of your peace that says everything is going to be okay. In the name of Jesus.”
Just last month, Bieber released his sixth studio album, Justice, which topped the album and singles charts.