Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Well Known Prisoner

At any given point, the media will be focusing on a certain trial in our country.  So, for a while we become so familiar with a name in the news that even if we do not really want to follow the story we know all the details anyway.  For example, Jodi Arias has been all over the news lately because of her trial.  Thanks to today's media, we are even able to watch court trials on TV.  Our society seems to have an obsession with trials and criminals and we've even created television dramas based on the criminal trial system.  Keep the perspective in mind when you read today's reading because it shows us that this obsession is something that has been going on for thousands of years. The only difference is that we have radio, newspapers, television, and the internet to keep everyone informed.  Please use the link and read Matthew 27:11-26.

These verses show us the trial Jesus had before Pilate.  Reading through these verses, you see that there really wasn't much of a trial and Pilate didn't know what to do.  He had even been warned by his wife that she had troubling dreams about Jesus and he should stay clear of any harm to Jesus.  So, Pilate's solution was to let the crowd decide what they should do.  He knew Jesus was innocent, and he was sure that if he gave the crowd a choice between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus the Messiah, they would choose Barabbas.  We are told in these verses that Barabbas was a well-known prisoner, which means that this was probably a man that everyone was happy to see in prison.  But the crowd surprised Pilate by choosing Jesus the Messiah to be crucified.

You can see Pilate's fear in his reaction because he told the crowd that he would not be guilty of killing an innocent man and that His blood would be on their shoulders.  The crowd's reaction is one that sends terrible shudders down my spine; they cried out, "His blood is on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25 NIV).  The reason that this is so horrible is that this was a culture that should have known what they were saying.  This was a culture where they knew that God declared blessings or punishments on future generations (Exodus 20:5-6).  Basically, they declared a punishment on their future generations.  So, in a sense, they had set a well-known prisoner free and put themselves and their future generations in chains.  They were now the most well known prisoner to themselves.  The very One who had the power to forgive their sins and set them free was the very One they crucified.

Here is the incredible thing:  Jesus' death and resurrection is exactly what could release these chains they had put themselves in.  Jesus was the One who could forgive them and they would just have to believe.  But they are not the only people to put themselves in chains.  We are also bound by chains because of our own choices and sin.  But we also have hope through Jesus.  He shares His victory over death with us and breaks the chains of sin for anyone who believes in Him.  Anyone who believes He is God and has died in our place and conquered death three days later gets to share in Jesus' victory!  That is amazing, and it is life changing.

Are you still a prisoner to sin?  Do you believe that Jesus can set you free?

This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.

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