Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 19, 2020

Prison Break

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

As this year is coming to end, my chronological reading of the Bible has brought me to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. And amid the various emotions stirred by the events (bewilderment, shock, and grief, to name a few), the one that always floats to the top is overwhelming gratefulness.

With each author’s telling, we’re astounded to hear the crowds calling out for Christ’s death just hours after they shouted words of adulation upon His entry into Jerusalem. But there is a piece of the story that may be brushed by in the reading, as our focus turns to Calvary.

Just prior to Pontius Pilot asking what he should do with Jesus and the crowd’s condemning response, the governor asked them which prisoner he should release to fulfill their Passover custom. Their choice was for a man named Barabbas, a murderous insurrectionist. Although these events are penned in all four Gospels, it’s Matthew’s account (27:16-26) that transports me into the shoes of this imprisoned criminal.

See, Barabbas was probably sitting in a cell not far from where Pilate was talking with the people. And I envision him focused on the commotion but hearing only the loud shouts of the crowd—not the words of Pilate. Barabbas knows he’s a bad guy. And he knows a prisoner will be released. So, as I sit with him behind those bars, this is what we hear: “Barabbas!” … pause … ”Crucify him!” Despite his criminal mind and murderous heart, he was, I imagine, terrified by the horrific penalty awaiting him…crucifixion. As the guards approach his cell, the weight of his impending punishment may even have brought him to tears.

But then the Roman guard opens the locked door and tells Barabbas to get out. Astounded and confused, he might have asked what happened, to which the guard may have said, “Jesus is being crucified—you’re free.” And maybe, just maybe, at the moment Barabbas was walking out of that cell, his path crossed that of Jesus being taken away to be flogged, tortured, and nailed to a cross. And perhaps, for a fleeting moment, their eyes met during that great exchange.

Sisters, let this sink in for a moment. We deserve to pay the ultimate price—death—for our sins (Romans 6:23). But we have been freed. Jesus Christ took on our wrongdoings and served our sentence. He sacrificed Himself, dying an excruciating death in our place, so we can live. His blood covers our debt and washes us as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Because of Jesus, when we, offenders like Barabbas, stand in front of God our Judge, we will not be condemned. Instead, He will look at us and say, “Your penalty has been paid in full. You are free.”

“Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on my behalf. Thank You for the gift of eternal life when I deserve only death.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Ministry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: