As you read the Gospel of John, you will come to an interesting story that I think often times gets overlooked.
After Pilate had interrogated Jesus, Pilate discerned that Jesus was an innocent man, set up by jealous Jewish leaders. As a way of getting out of the predicament he was in (having to prosecute an innocent man), Pilate mentioned to the crowd that there was a custom of releasing a prisoner during the time of Passover. Pilate thought surely the crowd would see the injustice of bringing judgement against Jesus and ask to have released. However, they didn’t. Instead, in a surprise move, they asked for a guy named Barabbas to be freed. He was a prisoner arrested during a recent uprising.
So, there was Barabbas. One day he was in jail waiting to be condemned. Then, another day, he was set free by an innocent man taking his place.
I was reminded of that story last night. Earlier in the evening I was out to dinner with a few friends who told me about their mis-adventures when they were in their early 20’s. Reflecting on their stories later on, I thought of my own foolish experiences. I started to remember a certain time when I did___________, which was a flagrant disregard for the law, a friend’s car, and my life, as well as a friend of mine’s life. Another time, which I am so ashamed of, I did ___________. Then, there was another time, I did _________, which should have really killed me.
The reason I did not get into the specifics of each of these situations is that they don’t really matter. I am not proud of those foolish experiences from my past, and just thinking about them makes me so grateful to God who showed mercy to me and kept me from receiving what I deserved: either harsh consequences, jail time, or death.
Like Barabbas, I find myself freed from a punishment I totally deserved and now, I’m able to live a life of gratefulness to Jesus Christ who has saved me.
How about you? Does the awesomeness of the change of circumstances in your life because of His mercy towards you, ever blow you away?
Do you recognize how your life could be far worse today than it might otherwise have been if it weren’t for the mercy of God?
Have you ever thanked Him for that?
Have you ever surrendered your life to Jesus Christ to begin living a life of gratefulness to Him?