Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a time to reflect on the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many mistake this as a time of mourning the Son of God being murdered by His own creation. Yet, that perspective misses the point of Jesus’ willing sacrifice to save the world at Calvary. This is a time to celebrate the gift of eternal salvation should we accept the actions of Jesus during this moment in history.
Coming out of one of the darkest times in my life included being introduced to the truth about who Jesus was and what he did for me on the cross on Good Friday.
To become a follower of Christ I had to answer a very important question. The question comes from the Bible, in the book of Matthew, where we meet the man who condemned Jesus to be executed.
His name was Pontius Pilate, and he was the Roman Governor over all Judaea.
When introduced to Jesus, Pilate asked himself this question… “What shall I do then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Matthew 27:22)
We all have to answer that question when we learn the truth about Jesus. Hearing truth is one thing, but how you respond to that truth is something different.
Before the crucifixion of Jesus, the Pharisee’s (or the religious leaders) brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate. As a Roman Governor, Pilate oversaw the city of Jerusalem and he had the authority to sentence Jesus to death, which is what they wanted.
Pilate was a politician and was trying to navigate divide between two very passionate groups. One was the followers of Jesus, who protested Pilate to free Jesus, an innocent man. The other group was an angry mob led by the Pharisees, who were angrily protesting for the death of Jesus for blasphemy. A public crowd gained momentum, pressuring Pilate, chanting, “CRUCIFY HIM…. CRUCIFY HIM!!!”
Pilate wanted to deescalate the protests and offered a solution, a Jewish tradition where they allowed one person on death row to be set free each year. So Pilate brought out another man slated to be executed… the worst he could find to make Jesus an easy choice to free. The prisoner was brought before the crowd and they stood him next to the Jesus – the man’s name was Barabus.
Barabus was a thug, a murderer, a rapist, a wicked man who didn’t deserve freedom or life. The only thing Barabus deserved was death. Barabus had no place, even in the presence of Jesus.
Yet, when Pilate presented the option to the people of who to free, he said, “do you want Jesus or do you want Barabus?”
And, the people began to chant…
“Give us Barabus… Give us Barabus!!!”
When I think of my own life story, and I think of the Easter message and the gift of salvation,
I picture Pilate presenting the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, who deserved only glory. And then this mess of a man Barabus, who deserved only death.
And I see the first picture of a Savior
take the place of a sinner with the gift of salvation.
Jesus wasn’t a victim here… he was on the run and captured. Jesus choose this, in fact he surrendered… but Jesus didn’t surrender because he was weak, he surrendered because he was strong.
Pilate even gave Jesus a way out, to avoid the beatings, torture, humiliation and brutal cruxifixction He knew He faced, but he rejected it. Why?
Because Jesus was a man on a mission, to save us all… starting with Barabus.
Barabus deserved death, but Jesus choose to take his place.
That’s us… Barabus represents each of us… we are all Barabus.
Each of us has our own faults and sins, and deserve only death. But, Jesus took our place on the cross to take on sin and death on Good Friday, and 3 days later on Easter Sunday He concurred the death and rose from grave. This is God’s gift of salvation for you, me, and all of mankind. We only need to accept it.
This is the most important truth and wisdom you will hear in all of life.
Now, we don’t know if Barabus excepted that gift, but I will tell you, I sure do.
If anyone is thankful for the gift of God’s grace and second chances. It’s me. I am everyday…. And I pray for all those who have not accepted the FREE gift of salvation, that today would be your day.
In this life, we all have to answer that question…
There is no way around it.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” ….
What will you do with Jesus?
One thing I can promise you, is the right answer to that question will always lead you to where you’re supposed to be. Regardless of how that might look to the world.
Here is my Good Friday and Easter Prayer for you. I pray you accept it as a renewal or commitment to a relationship with your Creator:
In reflection of Good Friday and Easter, we thank you God for sending your Son Jesus to take our place on that cross, starting with Barnabus. We recognize we are all like Barabus, full of selfishness and sin that we cannot reconcile on our own. Lord, I lay all my sins and burdens at the cross. Thank you for the miracle of the resurrection that gives us a hope in eternal life with you, by accepting Your gift of salvation.
I pray You give us the courage, strength and faith in you, to let go of our past, step into the life and future You have in store for us.
Thank you for not just creating us, but creating us for a purpose. To be world changers, and kingdom builders. I pray You will use me and allow me to step into the very plan and purpose You had for my life when You created me.