Inspirational Thought of the Day:

False Christs abound today. They might not be clothed in garb that is easily recognizable, but comforts and idols abound, which are often chosen over the One true Savior, Jesus Christ.

Scripture of the Day:

Matthew 27:15-18

During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whomever they wanted. 16 At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17 So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” 18 (For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.) 19 As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.”20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” 23 He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

We have been walking in the footsteps of Christ this week, trying to understand what was in His heart and mind. We could never fully understand His suffering, His heart of compassion, and yet He invites us to come and know Him.We see a God Who cares intensely and demonstrates His love in humility with great courage in the face of immense suffering. Falsely accused and tried, beaten and scorned – He could have been delivered with a word, but still chose to be crucified in order to win our souls.

Considering the pain He endured hurts deeply. Why did His suffering have to be so cruel? Sin costs greatly. The cost of our sins is death and our Jesus bore EVERY SIN in this world upon Himself. When we see the level of abuse and scorn, it reminds us of how evil our sins are and how very desperate our condition was. We could not meet the righteous demands of the law. But Jesus could.

Perfect in every way, without sin, He chose to suffer cruelly to gain our hearts. What looked like victory for the enemy of our souls that day was our ultimate victory. Christ defeated death and fulfilled the promise God spoke in the garden of Eden.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post that I feel led to share again today. Our Savior came and offered Himself up in our place. Today as we consider afresh His sacrifice, I want to look at the moment when He could have been freed, and we chose a cheap substitute. We chose to remain in our sin, but God’s grace triumphed, anyway.

Every year I read this story, but this is the first time that I recognized Barabbas was named Jesus Barabbas.  Upon researching his name, “Barabbas”, it literally means, “Son of the father”.

“Barabbas‘ name appears as bar-Abbas in the Greek texts of the gospels. It is derived ultimately from the Aramaic בר-אבא, Bar-abbâ, “son of the father”. Some ancient manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17 have the full name of Barabbas as “Jesus Barabbas” and this was probably the name as originally written in the text.” (multiple sources – Hermeneutics Stack exchange, Britannica, etc.)

Two men with identical names but completely different natures.  One Jesus was the Holy son of God while the other Jesus was a criminal – a thief and a murderer.

The people were given a choice – which Jesus would they choose?  They chose the counterfeit Jesus. The one who was a sinner just like them.  The one who did not make them uncomfortable in their sins. They did not choose the unpopular Jesus – the only Jesus that could truly set THEM free.  By setting the sinner free, they were enslaving themselves, and blind to the consequences of their choice. But God. Even though they did not choose Jesus Christ as their Savior, His death would set sinners free still.

I wonder if the irony was seen by any of them at the time.  When they said, “let His blood be upon us and our children”, indeed it is only Jesus’ blood which could cover them.  They thought they could handle the judgment and responsibility for crucifying God. They did not know that they were the very tool used by God to shed His innocent blood, which would indeed set all people free Who could see Who this Jesus really was.

Pilate was given a choice.  He claimed innocence, but did he choose Jesus?  Knowledge of Him is not enough.  People in the time of Christ were given a choice, too.  So are we.  False Christs abound today. They might not be clothed in garb that is easily recognizable, but comforts and idols abound, which are often chosen over the One true Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christ suffered as a criminal for us all.  What will be our choice?  To be identified with Him, to know of Him, or to deny Him? We do not have to have lived at that time of Jesus to make that choice.  He is alive and drawing us near to Himself.  He fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law and suffered cruelly in our place.  He died for you and I, friend.  That is the Savior I choose.  Happy Easter!

Lord, open our eyes to see that You are the only Savior of all mankind.  May we choose You over and over again in the daily mundanity of life and never cease to wonder at how magnificent Your salvation is!

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