While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Come with me to a trial. True story! It happened in secret, at night. Trials never happen at night. But this one is different. This is the one where Jesus, the Son of God, stands on trial.
Watch as faces glow red, and pumping fists fly everywhere. Indignant, rage-filled men slur insults. Their faces covered in their own spit, they shout their false-accusations. They cry out for His death – by crucifixion! Jesus stands silent next to Pilate.
Pilate knows this man is innocent, of course. He’s said as much. In public! Afraid to send Jesus to His death, but not willing to stand against this angry mob, an idea strikes. Surely this will work. He sends for the most notorious prisoner – a man known for his terrorist attacks. Barabbas enters and the crowd goes wild. It’s customary to grant a prisoner clemency on the day before Passover begins.
Where do you place yourself in this scene? If you’re like me, maybe you’ve pictured yourself, dozens of times, in the angry crowd. Knowing that, at one time, you also mocked Jesus. Disbelieving in His existence or, at the very least, rejecting who He is/was. You’ve likely used His name in vain – repeatedly. Maybe you simply ignored the question, “do I even believe He’s real?”
No doubt, you would have been a part of that despicable crowd. I would have been there too. But, here’s the other truth: you are Barabbas. So am I. He’s the prisoner on death row. Waiting for his own crucifixion. As far as we know, an unrepentant insurrectionist who was well known for his rebellion against authority, and for murder.
On that Thursday, at a mock trial (though you don’t know it’s mock), Jesus is on one side of Pilate, you are on the other. Pilate invites the crowd to decide your fate. What thoughts run through your mind? You may not know the man on the other side. Not personally. But you’ve heard of Him. You know you’re guilty. You’re pretty sure He’s innocent. What choice does this mob have?
The shouting gets louder and louder. It’s hard to make out what they are saying. Suddenly your ears tune in; “crucify him”, they shout. “Crucify Him. CRUCIFY HIM”. Your breathing quickens. Your heart races. You knew this day would come. You just didn’t know it would be TODAY. Already? This is the day you die. Fear fills you as you think of the barbaric death of a criminal – on a cross.
But wait, what? Why are they removing your chains? What’s going on. You look over at Jesus. He’s not stepping away. He’s not even moving. Perfectly still, and looking peaceful, he remains at Pilate’s side. Your head begins to spin. It dawns on you: the innocent has been convicted. A murderer has been set free.
Pilate looks sick. He washes his hands in a bowl. The crowd cheers. You glance back one more time, a smile (which is more of a sneer) creeps across your face. You got away with it. “Sucks to be you, Jesus”, you think. And then you run…
True story: While you were still a sinner, Christ died for you!
Here’s my prayer for you today:
That you will truly meditate on the sacrifice that willfully took place on that crazy day. When Jesus was crucified, the expensive blood was poured out in order to anoint you.
Death has been conquered. I pray you have received life.
May the LORD direct your path (scheduled plans) so that you can take the time to truly humble yourself before God. TODAY! So that you will know His passion, His mercy, and the measure of His love. Your debt has been paid. You’ve been set free. A gift of freedom. For sinners who will receive.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Happy Good Friday, loved one.
Remember: the story doesn’t end there. HE IS RISEN!
*Loved one, Heaven and Hell. They both exist. Please contact me if you would like more information on how to receive eternal life with God.
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