When the Passion Becomes Personal
Listen to Audio (right click to save)
Twenty-three marks on the wall of his four-by-four prison cell told the story. It has just been three weeks since the soldiers captured him - the number one name on the Most Wanted List - at a local bar and they hauled him into this cell. The charges were robbery, treason, and murder. Day 23 was going to be just another day there, or so he thought until he heard the growing sounds of that angry mob outside the window above him. He managed to grab the bars on the window and pull himself up high enough to hear what the crowd was screaming. It was a combination of shock and fear that swept over him when he heard they were shouting his name! "Give us Ba-rabbas! Give us Ba-rabbas!"
Then the chant gradually began to change. Now they were shouting with this bloodthirsty anger, "Cru-ci-fy him! Cru-ci-fy him!" Barabbas slumped to the floor. He couldn't believe it. He'd been their hero, but now they were calling for his execution by the most brutal means of execution ever devised - death on a cross. Within minutes, five soldiers were dragging him, kicking and screaming down the corridor, up the stone steps, and to another door. They flung the door open, pushed him through it, and slammed the door behind him.
It took a little while for him to realize where he was. He was out on the cobblestone street of Jerusalem. He was free! Before the reality could fully dawn on Barabbas, the door behind him opened again. He literally had to roll out of the way to keep from being trampled by this angry crowd pushing their way through with a bare-backed, bleeding man in the middle of them. As Barabbas plastered himself against the wall of that narrow street, he could see that man's back had been so brutally beaten that it was just like one gaping wound, exposing tissue and bone. Barabbas' first instinct was to run while he could, but he didn't. He followed that crowd all the way up the skull-shaped hill just outside the city, where from a distance, he heard the hammer and the spikes that the heartless executioners of Rome were driving into that man's hands and feet.
It turned dark as night in the middle of the day and the skies opened up with a deluge of rain. Curious spectators just began to drift away. Finally, Barabbas felt safe enough to walk slowly to the top of Skull Hill, with his head covered. It was as if there was a magnet pulling him toward the man hanging on that middle cross between two other dying criminals. Barabbas had heard the man say from that cross, "Father, forgive them." He'd heard many things at crucifixions. He'd heard cursing, and screaming, and threatening, but never "forgive."
He now could recognize the face there that was beaten almost beyond recognition. It was Jesus - the man who had done no wrong, whose only crime was to love those that no one else cared about. And in that moment Barabbas found himself looking up into the eyes of that man on the middle cross and saying aloud, "You don't deserve to be there, Jesus. I do. But because You're dying there, I don't have to die." I could walk up to the cross where Jesus died and say that, and so could you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and this is A Word With You about "When the Passion Becomes Personal."
I don't know if Barabbas ever really made it to the cross, but I do know that getting to that cross to have your sins forgiven is your only hope of heaven. Galatians 2:20, our word for today from the Word of God simply says, "The Son of God...loved me and gave Himself for me." If you've never been to Jesus' cross and said those words, "For me. You're dying for me." This could be your personal Jesus-day; when you tell Him you're His, when every wrong thing you've ever done will be erased from God's book, and when you trade hell for heaven. Would you tell Him that today, "Jesus, I'm Yours."
And I hope you'll go to our website where so many people have found help in beginning their personal relationship with this Jesus, who loves you as no one else ever loved you. Our website - YoursForLife.net.
He died for your sin so you don't have to.
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.