Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Daily Devotional: March 1


Week 6, Day 2, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 27

During Lent it is very easy to wait until the week before Easter to focus on the Passion Story. I am thankful for this meditation series and for great pastors whose podcasts inspire me. I borrow pretty heavily from guys like Brian Zahnd, and I want to point you guys to him as well because I know he can influence you too. 

Today we are reading what must have been a tough passage for Matthew to write. We have reason to believe he watched these events unfold first-hand. Even though he knows the end of the story as he is writing it, he must have found it hard to think about his best friend and Lord being beaten and rejected and murdered.

Give us Barabbas 

The last chance for Jesus was this moment where Pilate offers the crowd the release of one prisoner. He thinks they will surely pick Jesus of Nazareth, because this man was a hero. Another man, Jesus Barabbas, who ironically shared a first name with Jesus Christ, was in prison. He was a different kind of hero. He was in prison for basically inciting a riot. Historians believe he was a revolutionary, the type of man who believed in armed conflict against the Romans. He was a political prisoner of the Roman state. 

One man offered peace at all costs, one man believed in a quick-strike revolution. One man stood for a revolution of mercy and forgiveness, the other for a political revolution. We see who the crowd chose. We often think of them as being under the influence of mob mentality, or of some sinful spirit and that's why they would choose Jesus Barabbas over Jesus of Nazareth, but that doesn't have to be the case.

Give us Barabbas

We shout the same thing when we choose the easy way out, the way of destruction. We shout the same thing when we look to our finances or guns to save us. We shout the same thing when we want to protect our necks at the cost of some other people group, religion, or race to be wiped off the face of the earth. We shout the same thing when we want to build walls and not bridges.

Give us Barabbas

We want it our way! We don't want the peaceful hero, we want the guy with the biggest gun! Give us the biggest bombs! Give us the kingdom we want, or else!

Don't choose Barabbas. Choose the other Jesus, the one who offers love and mercy.

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.