“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
The house was quiet last evening. Jen had taken Sean to an offseason hockey workout and I had prepared my bachelor meal of Hawaiian grilled chicken and a giant salad for dinner. I settled in on the sofa, grabbed the remote and pressed play….
Every year during Holy Week, I will sit down and watch “The Passion of the Christ” in order to help me reflect on the power, depth and magnitude of Jesus’ redeeming love for humanity. As many may know, this is not an easy film to watch but for me, it is necessary. In my mind I can easily “whitewash” the events that happened that day, as if seeing them through rose colored stained glass windows. This film helps prevent me from doing that.
As the story progresses I arrived at the scene where Jesus is brought back to Pontius Pilate for the second time. The crowd has grown even more visceral and in what is seemingly Pilate’s attempt to talk some reason into the crowd, he brings out a convicted murderer, Barabbas. “Which one do you want me to release to you–Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?….the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas…’Barabbas’ they answered. What shall I do, then, with Jesus….?’ They answered, ‘Crucify him!'” (taken from Matthew 27)
The scene continues….
After a series of mocking gestures to both his Roman captors and the crowd, the newly freed Barabbas glances at the Man who has just taken his place. Seemingly a look of both sorrow and conviction momentarily flashes across his face. He, a guilty man has been set free. Jesus, an innocent man, silently and faithfully accepts His purpose.
Now before we go on thinking, “That horrible man! That murderer! I hope he realized the undeserved second chance he got! I hope he ended up getting what’s coming to him!”…. Let’s reflect on the words of scripture:
“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer….” (1 John 3:15a)
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
If we are honest with ourselves and our own human condition, it is easy to see that we….we are all Barabbas.
Yet there stands Jesus….taking our punishment on Himself to fulfill the requirements of the Law, so that we may go free. This is how much He loves YOU. He has gone to every length to demonstrate His Love for you. What will you do with it? How will you live the rest of your days knowing that this is the truth?
If you’ve never responded to Jesus, I would encourage you to do just that. Turn from your past and your sin and into the outstretched arms of your Savior. Call out to Him and He will hear you and save you. There is no better time than now….
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Welcome to the family….you are richly loved by the Creator of the universe and you have a unique purpose in God’s unfolding plan.
Be vigilant in love. Be watchful. Stay faithful.