I was reading in Matthew chapter 27 about Pilate giving the crowd the option to save Jesus or Barabbas. Jesus, the sinless God-Man who has done nothing but heal the blind, cure the sick, and preach the word or Barabbas the murdering thief. In ours and Pilate's mind, the decision is easy... Jesus has done no wrong. He is fully deserving of freedom offered because of the "feast of the governor." Pilate even urges them, "what evil has he done?" Even still the crowd asks for Barabbas.
As I read this, I felt so angry with the crowd for wanting Barabbas over Jesus. I was angry with Pilate for not standing his ground and letting a guilty man free. I was angry with God for Jesus having to take the punishment someone else deserved. But like most angry sessions with God, it ended very quickly with conviction in my heart.
God brought me to Jonah... The story where all of us hate Jonah for being mad at God for wanting to save a group of people. It is so clear Jonah is wrong for being upset about God saving the Ninevites. Now, I was being Jonah. I was mad at God for choosing to set free whom He wants. God reminded me I was once Barabbas. I was once the lost sinner who deserved death, and Jesus stood in my place. Barabbas is a representation of all of us. We are sinners, guilty, and deserving of punishment. "BUT GOD shows his LOVE for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we all were deserving of death, Christ stood in our place.
That is a beautiful sentiment, but what does it mean in my day to day life?
1) You are worthy of God. You are worthy of God's blessings. Not because you have done anything to deserve it, but because Jesus looked at you in your sin and said, "get out of the way I am taking your punishment." There is no reason to ever feel like you can not come to God with anything. We do not get to define our worth. Christ on the cross declared us worthy.
2) There is a world full of Barabbases in need of a savior. Christ blood covered all of those willing to follow after Him. The beauty of the Gospel is God chooses us as His vessels to let people know what He has done. If we fully understand what Jesus did for Barabbas, we would not be able to hold it in. The world needs to hear the message of God's love.
3) When we grasp the love Jesus shows Barabbas, and realize He loves us just as much, it causes us to live differently. God's love is not dependent on our faithfulness, works, or study. His love is only dependent upon his nature. We should not live in fear of doing right and wrong, but live free lives no longer bound by sin!
My encouragement is for all of us to understand the vastness of God's love, and to let that change your life everyday. There is a world out there who needs to hear about the immensity of His love. God didn't need us, but he chose us to be the vessel to share His love to everyone. Be a sharer of His love!