Saturday 27 September, 2014

Matthew 27:11-23

1 Jesus was standing in front of the governor. The governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes. It is just as you say,” Jesus replied. 12 But when the chief priests and the elders brought charges against him, he did not answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the charges they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge. The governor was really amazed. 15 It was the governor’s practice at the Passover Feast to let one prisoner go free. The people could choose the one they wanted. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner named Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to set free? Barabbas? Or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 Pilate knew that the leaders were jealous. He knew this was why they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him a message. It said, “Don’t have anything to do with that man. He is not guilty. I have suffered a great deal in a dream today because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders talked the crowd into asking for Barabbas and having Jesus put to death. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to set free?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What wrong has he done?” asked Pilate. But they shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”

Never before have I noticed that before Jesus was crucified there was a prelude to the ultimate substitution. In a matter of hours Jesus would be enduring the wrath of God for the sins of the world, suffering a death he did not deserve, on my behalf. Dying so that I might live.

Here we see a symbol of something far greater. A murderer, Barabbas, is released and given freedom as a good and innocent man, Jesus, is condemned to death. A disgusting, ugly and appalling exchange. How could the crowds ask for evil to be released while goodness is whipped and suffocated.

I insert my name in for Barabbas. Suddenly it is the most beautiful exchange ever conceived.

“Lord, you made a beautiful exchange for me, a murderer, adulterer, thief. Let your wonderful resurrection life be revealed in this redeemed heart, mind and body”.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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