I can’t believe that this semester is almost over. And that my New Testament class is almost over. This has honestly been one of the most enjoyable classes ever. Especially spiritually. This class has opened my eyes to so many insights and put the gospels in such a different light for me.
This past week and this week we talked a lot about the Garden of Gethsemane and the crucifixion. I thought I knew a lot. But I had no idea. Absolutely none. I mean, we all know the basics of the story of Christ’s crucifixion. But do we ever try and relate more than just the suffering on the cross and Gethsemane back to us? I know I didn’t. Not until my teacher pointed out that, once again, this is our story. No, we are not hated by the whole world, or perfect in any way shape or form, or going to be crucified for almost no reason. But we are the other characters. Sometimes we’re the people who mourn Christ. Who comfort Mary. But one character I never would have associated myself with is Barabbas.
Barabbas comes into the story of the crucifixion during Pilate’s final trial. Pilate finds no fault in Jesus and no one’s reason for Christ to be persecuted and put to death lines up. Pilate is trying to find a way out, a way to let Christ go. It is a passover tradition that they would let one prisoner go and forgive them for all of his sins. Barabbas was guilty of murder and it is said that “Barabbas was a robber.” Jesus was guilty of being the Son of God. Barabbas translates to mean son of the father. The Jews chose to have the fake son of the father freed and condemned the real son of the father.
Now, not all of us have committed such sins as murder, but we have committed sins. Some worse than others. But sins nonetheless. We have all the facts against us. We deserve everlasting death. We deserve punishment. Just like Barabbas, we deserve to be outcasts in prison. But just like Barabbas, Jesus takes our place. We are let go and forgiven of all of our sins, and Jesus, the only perfect person who has committed no such sin, takes the terrible punishment that should have been ours. And Jesus doesn’t take our cross with anger or the feeling of unfairness in his heart, but with everlasting love.
I never in a million years would have associated myself with Barabbas. Honestly, for the longest time I felt a little bit of anger towards Barabbas myself for being guilty of all of those terrible crimes and the Jews deciding to punish the only spotless being. But I have had my eyes opened and my heart softened. I am Barabbas. I commit sins all the time. I have big sins and small sins. I am worthy of eternal punishment and death. But I have a God who willingly took my cross. Who willingly took my sins. Who willingly was tortured and endured physical, emotional, and mental pain like no one has ever experienced, just so that I would never have to feel those things. What an amazing God we have. A God that knows all of our sins and knows all that we have done. And yet, He loves us and willingly takes upon the punishment for our sins, so we don’t have to.
The atonement is a real thing. It is more real than we can comprehend. And it did not start and end on the cross or in the Garden of Gethsemane. It continues everyday if we use it. Christ suffered for our sins. He knows more than anyone else our pains and our joys. And He is waiting for you to use the atonement and to remember that you do not have to feel the deepest of sorrows that He felt. How great is our God.