The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Barrabas or Christ?"
"Will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber" (John 18:39-40).
Pilate made the people a simple offer: Release Christ the giver, or Barrrabas the taker? The people chose poorly.
Lest we be overly critical of the foolish mob, we do well to consider how often in our lives we have opted for that which harms rather than benefits. Indeed, every sin we have ever committed follows the pattern.
"The wages of sin is death, but gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
It matters not the nature of our distrust and disobedience. All somehow robs from us at the very least, or as the Apostle declared, kills us at the worst. By "death" in the context of Romans 6, Scripture does not allude to physical death, or in the case of believers, spiritual death. It rather refers to the reality that when we disbelieve and disobey God, we forfeit the experience of Christ's life regarding the temptation to which we succumb. If we lie, for example, we fail to know the blessedness of the One who declared, "I… the truth" (John 14:6). Sin pays its wages, by taking something precious from us, namely, "the power of an endless life" that fills and fulfills our hearts with truth (even when overcoming the challenge at hand involves sacrifice).
Conversely, God's grace supplies a gift, the gift of "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Again, the context of the Apostle Paul's declaration refers not to the "eternal life" of the hereafter, but rather to our experience of eternal life in the present. We already "have eternal life" as believers in the Lord Jesus (I John 5:13). We have Him, who proclaimed of Himself, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). When we trust and obey God through the power of the Holy Spirit, we experience the risen Christ as the Life of our lives. We know Grace the giver, and thus, the freely given provision of God rather than having such precious blessedness taken from us by sin the robber.
We do well to think in these terms as we seek to walk with God in faith and faithfulness. Like a mob that long ago rejected life and embraced death, we can foolishly opt for that which kills rather than enlivens. Or, we can "choose life" through the trust and submission that engages our hearts, hands, and feet with the gracious life that dwells within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 30:19). The correct decision seems obvious. It is obvious. In our present existence, however, we can still choose Barrabas rather than Christ. May we then remember Grace the giver and sin the taker. Or, as the writer of Hebrews enjoins…
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
Weekly Memory Verse
Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.