I haven’t posted on the blog for a while, so I can’t think of a better day than Good Friday to share the message of being set free!
It is so easy for us to carry on with our everyday lives today, just like every other day. TGIF, right? So, I find it incredibly important for all of us to slow down and reflect on what is so good about Good Friday, when an innocent man was arrested, tortured, and died on the cross. And maybe that’s why I’m writing this, to spend my own time in meditation processing the meaning behind this very day.
I find it amazing that Jesus, a man of the flesh, stands quiet when Pilate asks “Do you not hear how many things they have testified against you?” (Matthew 27:13-14). How many of us when we come under attack immediately jump to defend ourselves? We feel hurt, betrayed, and we seek justice! And yet, Jesus…he just stands there quietly. We know that Jesus was scared, because when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was in such agony that “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44), a condition known as hematidrosis which is a very rare condition when the tiny capillaries in the sweat glands burst from significant emotional stress. And yet, He still accepts this fate from his Father. He puts his trust in Him, and Him alone. He isn’t looking for acceptance from the world. He knows that the only acceptance He needs, is from God.
Think about that. What an example of faith knowing the amount of suffering he is about to face. Wow.
This morning I stumbled upon a Facebook video talking about Barabbas. The video sent chills throughout my body. Pilate asks the crowd “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17). Barabbas was a bad man – selfish, a thief, a criminal, and a murderer. And, Jesus…well, he was a healer! And yet, this crowd chooses to accept the murderer over an unblemished man! And when Barabbas is unchained, with no gratitude for Jesus, the one that truly sets him free, he walks away without hesitation as the crowd continues to mock Jesus and call for his death. Barabbas and the crowd are symbolic here, don’t we see it? They represent me. And they represent YOU.
We can be so ignorant of our sin. “I’m a good person.” “I haven’t killed anyone.” But you see, sin goes much deeper than that. Do we deny Jesus such as Peter? Are we quick to judge others, yet reluctant to admit our own failures? Are we boastful and full of pride? Do we have a sharp tongue? Do we chase after the things of this world such as sex, money, fame, and power? Maybe we look at others with envy? We live selfishly? Or maybe we even put spending time with God last a long list of things to do. Let me tell you, I am just as guilty as Barabbas. And I fail – Every. Single. Day.
But Jesus, knowing he himself is innocent, and knowing just how guilty Barabbas is, let him walk free. Because he loves him. And he loves US!
My heart breaks for Jesus. When I reflect on The Passion, I weep knowing just how guilty I am. And I know in my heart just how much I don’t deserve the free gift Jesus is extending to me. But the last words he utters before giving up His spirit are “It is finished.” My favorite words ever spoken. As my pastor recently addressed – sin, suffering, satan, and salvation – all of them are finished forever and for always, because Jesus has already won. He has conquered it all, for us. And so, as I sit here writing and reflecting, I accept this gift of salvation out of love and gratitude for The One that gave up his life so that I could live.
The chains are broken, and I am set free. Without ever looking back at the person I was, I am forever transformed.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus, all you have to do is open your heart, put your faith in Him, and ask Him for forgiveness. He will wash you clean, and you will be made anew.
If I can help you, or pray for you, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May His peace be with you.