Last week, I was reading in Luke, and for the first time this particular passage stuck out to me:
'But the whole crowd shouted "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder)Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then released." But with shouts the insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.'
- Luke 23:18-24
Of course this is part of the Easter story, the same one you hear every year on Easter Sunday, or perhaps have read several times for yourselves. But why now? What was so different for me?
Well, I saw it from a whole different place! This is the first time that Jesus displayed what He was willing to take for us.
He literally took Barabbas' place!
Maybe this isn't mind blowing for you, but it is for me. Barabbas deserved Death! He was a criminal by all definitions of the word, and yet an innocent man was killed in his place. And Barabbas was set free to wander the streets. This made me wonder
"What Happened to Barabbas?"
Do you think Barabbas understood what had been done for him? In the best case scenario, Barabbas was grateful for what was done for him. He changed his life and became an advocate for Jesus. Perhaps he spent the rest of his days helping those in need, caring for orphans, and doing good. But if statistics prove to be true, quite the opposite may have been true.
Barabbas may have gone back to a life of crime. Stealing, killing, and who knows what else. How could he have known that the Son of God had taken his place? How could Barabbas possibly have known what was truly done for him? Maybe in his mind it was just a lucky break? Then I think
"How often do I forget what has been done for me?"
I know Jesus died for me. I know he took the punishment, that I totally deserve, on His shoulders. I deserve death because of my sins. You and I are not worthy of the lives we are given. We are not worthy of eternal life with the savior, and yet Jesus willingly gave up his life. And not only did he give up His life, he was beaten. Beaten with rods, whips, and chains.
Jesus endured physical pain on my behalf. On your behalf, so that you and I can live free of sin, free of guilt, and free of shame!
And yet sometimes I forget that. I don't truly remember that I am free to live because He chose to die. I believe that if we made a conscious effort to remember what truly has been done for us, we would live differently. Maybe we wouldn't complain as much, and just maybe we would show love more. Maybe, just maybe
We wouldn't take life for granted.
Because loved one, you were paid for, you are ransomed, You are Free!!