53 and counting….

IMAG0121

 

I turned 53 yesterday. That puts me two years away from a senior citizen’s discount. I’m trying to wrap my brain around the fact that in seven years. Lord willing, I’ll be sixty. Say what? After 50 birthdays start to become more and more important. (insert chuckle here)

It’s kinda weird to celebrate 53 years, partly because I still feel much younger than that. Even though it takes me longer to get up out of a chair, and I’m getting used to the fact that I can’t read anything without whipping out my reading glasses, I still feel pretty young. I still have lots of energy…most of the time, but I go to bed much earlier now than I did just a few years ago. But whatever delusions of immortality I had in my twenties are long gone. I know that one day this earthly life will come to an end, and statistically, that could happen in just a couple of decades, despite my hopes of living to be a hundred ( I think that would be very cool but only God knows about that.).

It’s kinda creepy to think about your life ending, but at my age I can’t help but at least tip my hat in acknowledgement to that weird guy with a sickle, standing in the shadows. I know one day he’s gonna come knocking and escort me to glory. Fortunately, because of Jesus the trip will be a short passage into life. I think if it weren’t for Jesus I would be in great fear of death. How sad it would be to think that my life was just an existence until death. But I have great hope that this short life is just  a warm up for eternity.

However, despite my great hope, I still feel some apprehension about the future. I’m done looking back with regret about the past. I’ve looked back and seen God’s hand on my life and for that I give thanks. God has blessed me beyond my expectations. But I can see also that I wasted a lot of my life being way too self concerned. God has graciously worked in and through this little clay pot of a life despite some basic mistakes. Here’s a short list of things I could get really depressed about if I tried.

  1. Too much talking. Too little listening.
  2. Too many hours spent on computer games. Too little on relationships.
  3. Too much time looking for affirmation. Too little time giving it.
  4. Too much self preservation. Too little self sacrifice.
  5. Too much concern for appearances. Too little concern for substance.
  6. Too much convenience. Too little perseverance.
  7. Too much fear. too little faith.
  8. Too much self. Too little others.
  9. Too much resentment. Too little forgiveness.
  10. Too much flesh. Too little Spirit.

I’ve spent enough time thinking about previous years and how I could have given more and loved better. I wept. I’ve confessed. I’ve mended fences…or at least tried, some refuse to mend. But as the Bible says, “There’s a time to weep and a time to laugh.” I’m done trying to fix yesterday. It’s time to move ahead into the life God has for me and my loved ones.

The great news of the Gospel is that God is always calling us forward to new life. I’m ready to move into the gift of life with a new zeal for God and His kingdom. In my short 53 years, despite all the ups and downs, one thing has remained. Jesus Christ, my wonderful savior has held my hand all the way. His love is greater than my regrets, stronger than my fears, and more powerful than my insecurities.

He has been unswervingly faithful and undeniably capable in all situations.My king has kept me in His nail scarred hands even in my worst moments. He has given me a wonderful family, amazing friends and tremendous opportunities. The great news is that no matter how long I live on this planet the best is always yet to come. Quite frankly, I have no intention of winding down at this point. My God has given me a great gospel to preach and a great life to live and I feel that I’m just now getting started. I want the second half to be greater than the first. I want my life to burst with God’s glory so brightly that you’ll have to wear sunglasses to my funeral!

If you have read this far, thank you for indulging me. I want to encourage you to live your life completely for Jesus Christ. He is the very ground of your existence. He is the reason for every breath you breathe. He alone can give meaning and lasting purpose to your life. In fact, He alone can give you your life. To Him be the glory now and forever. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Three things you need to know before you walk out the door.

“And we are witness to these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”  (Acts 5:32)

The Apostles were on trial for preaching the gospel. Don’t kid yourself, the day is fast approaching when the church in America will be forbidden to boldly preach the gospel. But the Apostles boldly proclaimed anyway, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only that power can enable us to faithfully proclaim the gospel, not the churchy feel good message of those who would water it down, but the gospel…the one in the Bible, that still calls people to repentance of sin and faith in the crucified, risen and returning Christ.

The Apostles of this century will boldly preach this gospel by the power of the Spirit. In the verse above we see three things any serious disciple needs to know about the Holy Spirit. Go back and read it again. In short form, here are the three things you need to know before you walk out the door.

1. The Holy Spirit has made you a witness. They said, “We are witnesses…” Earlier, Jesus had told the apostles, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses….” The Spirit came upon them and gave them a Holy boldness and power to be witnesses of the good news of Jesus Christ. You may not have seen him raised from the dead, but you are a witness of what Jesus has done in your life. The Holy Spirit will give you power to boldly proclaim your unique gospel message. Not your own Gospel, but your own experience with the good news of Christ. Without that power you cannot be an effective witness.

2. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Christ. “And so is the Holy Spirit…” The Holy Spirit came alongside the Apostles to confirm their message with powerful signs and wonders. He still does that today. When the gospel witness goes out, the Holy Spirit steps in and demonstrates the reality of Jesus life. Do you expect God to show up in power when you witness? He longs to come alongside and show the truth of the gospel. So how do you get this power in your life?

3. The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God. “Who has been given to those who obey him.” The Apostles experienced the power of the Spirit as they stepped out in faith and obedience. Friend, if you want to experience the Spirit’s power in your life, get up off your pew and go do something about the great commission. I’ll tell you that is the only way you will really experience his power. Some are wasting away wondering why God isn’t more real to them. Listen,  God will be as real to you as your obedience is to him. No excuses, no games. When you get out there and get about the business of communicating the gospel, God will show up in power.

So before you go out today know this, You are a witness of what Jesus Christ has done for you. Second, The Holy Spirit is also a witness of who who Jesus is. In other words, you give witness and He bears witness. Third, power follows obedience, nothing less. Now go out today and see what God will do when you obey his call.

Texts, Temples and Traditions ? Is that all God’s got?

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”   (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Every religion on earth says basically the same thing: “Here’s the textbook. Here’s the temple. Here are the traditions. See ya at the finish line…if you’re good. Good luck.”

You’re left with a text, a temple, and tradition. Every religion hands you the book of choice and leaves it up to you to make it through. But only the message of Jesus Christ says, “Yes we have rules, we have traditions and beliefs, but there’s more.” The good news of Jesus Christ is that God doesn’t just hand you a book and say, “Good luck, see ya at the finish line”…though many Christians live as if that’s exactly what God did. They’re missing the most crucial element. God offers you his very presence and power.

The good news is that God says, “You can’t make it on your own. If you try you will fail. So I have come to live inside of you and be with you along the way. It wont be you doing the work, but my Holy Spirit within you. Let me change you, and empower you to live the live I have called you to.” You see, when a person repents of their sin, and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not only forgiven, they are indwelt by God himself.

Preaching the first Christian sermon ever, the Apostle Peter said it like this, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit who makes us truly Christian. He also makes us victorious over the sin and corruption of this world. In the passage at the beginning of this blog we see four powerful truths that help us live victoriously, the way God designed us to. Read it again then see below four life changing truths every believer ought to know.

1. God’s divine power has given us all we need to live godly lives in this present world. This means that we are not called to just be forgiven, then continue wallowing in sin, just consoling ourselves by saying, “God accepts me.” He does accept you but he also expects you to put away the old life and walk powerfully in the new one.  We are called to live godly lives as God’s children. You have all you need to do that if the Spirit of Christ is in you.

2. This power comes through knowing God personally. As you get to know him and rely on him, he imparts his power into your life. But you can’t have God’s power without a personal commitment to Christ. You can’t just believe God is out there somewhere. You have to develop a personal relationship with him. This relationship is with a person, not a system. The person’s name is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross and rose from the dead to open the way to eternal life, and to give us access to God’s very life on this earth.

3. We access the power of God by obeying his word and believing his promises. As a society we are great at analyzing the promises of God, but are slow to just believe them. You want to know why we don’t see as many miracles as they saw in the Bible? It’s not because God went on vacation. It’s because we have become so self reliant and cynical that we have trouble just trusting  a God who is way beyond us. But when we trust him, miracles happen. I’ve see high school students literally healed of sickness in my class room because they simply believed God.

4. God desires that we live as free people, not as slaves. We were not meant to just be forgiven. We were meant to be victorious. You can overcome that stubborn sin that keeps tangling you up. You can put away the porn addiction, the cutting, the gossip. You can live free of crippling anxiety and depression. You can walk away from the wreck of an immoral life. God’s power is real and available to all who turn from sin to Christ by faith.

Jesus Christ is offering you more than a text, and temple and a tradition. He offers himself to you. Will you trust him? Will you receive him?

Leave your spices on the ground.

Mark 16:1-8

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.” v. 1

The Sabbath was over. A long dark night gave way to piercing orange rays washing over the landscape. The first sounds of morning could be heard in Jerusalem. The animals waking in stalls, millstones beginning the slow mundane grind and bakers kindling fires to announce the beginning of a normal week. Before the morning sun finished prodding the roosters awake three women, laden with burial spices, plodded their way to the place of Yeshua’s burial. They needed to finish the chapter. They sought some kind of closure. They needed a final goodbye, a way to pay respect, a way to move on.

The Sabbath had been everything except a day of rest. How do you take a day off from a broken heart? Each these women had found a new life in Yeshua. Since each of them met him, each in a unique way, from a different set of circumstances, they had found in him the one person in the world who could make sense of their existence. The world had treated them as less than human, pieces of property to be traded for goods. They had been forced into life’s outer court simply because they were women. But Yeshua had brought them into the inner court and called them Princesses in the Father’s kingdom. To them he was life. Purpose. Meaning. The Sabbath was spent quietly weeping. There comes a point in sadness when all a soul can muster is a blind stare into nothingness. You just sit and look into the abyss unable to speak, think or even feel until morning comes.

Sunday morning found them walking together. Three women, who apart from their association with Yeshua, were so different there may have been no reason for them to ever associate with one another under normal circumstances. Yeshua had a way of bringing people together who normally would have been estranged. Now they are bound by one thing, the only thing of any real consequence, their love for Yeshua. They chatted as they walked.

They chatted about spices. They laughed quietly about the things they would have to do later that day, the weather, children and such. After such an emotionally taxing few days, there was something soothing about small talk as they made their way. Then Salome, being the more practical of the three, had a question.

“How are we going to get into the tomb?”

“We can ask the guards to help us!” Mary said sarcastically.

“Oh they’ll help us alright! Help us find our way home!” They snickered. They had little confidence that the guards would be of any help.

“Maybe we could bribe them with our vast riches.” The women laughed. But still they walked on. They had no idea how they would get into the tomb, but something compelled them forward.

As they drew closer to the tomb, Mary, the mother of James, said, “Sisters, we have to do this. Let’s just get there. I don’t know why but I have the feeling that something will…open…up” She froze, taking hold of her sisters, and dropping her bag of spices. Soon all three women were struck with panic.

The guard detachment was gone, replaced by random hurried foot prints. The Governors seal broken and the massive stone moved away from the entrance. The women looked at one another afraid to move for the longest time, then arm in arm, spices left in a pile on the ground behind them, they moved cautiously into the tomb. Mary screamed at the man sitting on the slab next to a folded burial cloth. Fearing the worst they backed toward the entrance to attempt an escape. Then he spoke.

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 

Then he was gone. Three terrified women stood in the tomb, frozen. Eventually Salome spoke.

“We have to leave before they return.” “Who?”

“The soldiers! If they find us here they will think we’ve…” She hurried them out and urged them to run with her. Between breaths as they stumbled quickly back to Jerusalem they asked;

“Who was that man? What was he talking about? Where is Yeshua?”

Back at Salome’s house the women sat fearfully replaying what the man in the tomb had said. Mary’s eyes widened and her mouth quivered as she repeated slowly,

“He is going before you to Galilee…there…you will…see him…just as he told you.”

“It can’t be…oh…my…G….” Then the light came on.

Three sets of eyes widened simultaneously as the pieces came together. They screamed in unison and ran to find the disciples…

Intermission

Mark 15:42-47

“Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” v. 43

 

“Thank you, your Excellency….yes I have a burial place for the body.” Joseph, still numb from the day’s events, made his way quietly to the place of the skull. The sun was beginning to set and the Sabbath would soon begin, so he had to move quickly. He also wanted to avoid being seen by any lingering council members, who may slow him down with questions.

With the help of two soldiers, one curiously dressed in a blood stained robe, the lifeless body of Yeshua was pried from the death scaffold and wrapped in a linen cloth. Then the somber journey began toward the final resting place. The tomb was cut out from a single rock ensuring the body would be completely encased, with only one entrance. After the body was made secure, the soldiers exited and made preparation to seal the entrance.

“Sirs, may I have a moment?…thank you.”

Joseph placed a trembling hand on Yeshua’s corpse. The chill of a dead body is always a bit unnerving, but it was nice to finally have a few moments alone. There’s an eerie silence that comes in the presence of death. Its finality is difficult to absorb. Joseph had spent the last thirty some hours on a roller coaster of emotion. From the moment he was awakened for Yeshua’s trial, to the long night of trying to pray, without really knowing what to pray, then moving along the angry streets of Jerusalem, wishing he could do something, to the crushing agony of Yeshua’s crucifixion, Joseph had not had a moment alone and quiet. The silence of that tomb filled his ears and poured into his soul. A whisper of a tear escaped the corner of his eye and filled one of the lines of his cheekbone then mingled with the salt and pepper beard that adorned his regal countenance.

Misty grey eyes surveyed the linen cocoon as Joseph replayed scenes from the past week. He had been standing there in the crowd when Yeshua cleared the temple. He had been standing outside of the Leper’s house and marveled at Yeshua’s response to the woman with the jar of perfume. He briefly chuckled within himself when he remembered the way Yeshua handled some of his fellow council members when they tried to trap him with inane religious questions.

“I was so sure you would be the one. I prayed all my life for messiah to come. When I saw you ride into town on that colt, I prayed you would be the one. You didn’t know it, but I was watching you. I have never seen a man so full of the blessed one. I was so sure it was you who would save Israel from herself. But here we are. Perhaps messiah is just a vain hope, a fantasy of our own creation. If one such as you cannot save us, then all hope is lost.”

Joseph turned to leave, feeling an angry lump erupting into his throat, he spun back to Yeshua once more.

“I believed in you! Why did you do this to me!” spitting out curses, he raged on. “You’re a fraud! How dare you come sweeping into Jerusalem parading yourself as a messiah only to end up dead! I have spent my entire life looking for you! Or for what I thought was you! I searched the prophecies, and you seemed to fulfill every single one! What kind of scheme was this! What could possess a man to put on such an act, and then continue the game even when you knew death would be the result! Did you want to be some kind of martyr or something? What could be the point? You clearly had no ambitions for the throne. You made no effort to protect yourself or create alliances with the council. You knew this would happen didn’t you! You planned to die. Didn’t you! Why did you do this to us? To me?”

The two soldiers, hearing the commotion, came into the tomb and escorted the broken, sobbing, disillusioned old man out of the tomb. Joseph sat completely lost in a daze while the soldiers sealed the tomb, the thud of the massive stone signaling the end of a long nightmare.

One of the soldiers approached Joseph. The councilman was a bit confused as the guard pulled off an old bloody robe and handed it to him. “This belonged to Yeshua. I don’t know why but something tells me he’d want you to have it.” Joseph hesitated, and then slowly reached out gratefully to receive it. The soldier walked a few feet away, then stopped and turned to the grieving old man.

“You know, that guy was one in a million.” Joseph worked a smile, “Yes he was.”

The soldier went on, “I don’t know much about your god, or any god, but if there is only one god I’ll bet he’s a lot like Yeshua. At least I hope so. Just what little I saw of him was enough to change my whole way of thinking. Ya know?”

Joseph, a little embarrassed at himself looked at the blood stained robe for a moment, then up to the sky and said, “Yeah, I know what you mean. If there is a God, I’ll bet he’s a lot like Yeshua too.”

The old man made his way home. On the way he ran into Simeon, a fellow council member.

“Joseph, you’d better get home, the sun is almost down…hey why are you wearing that bloody robe?…”

Night maneuvers at high noon.

Mark 15:33-41

“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” v. 33

… It was as if the gods themselves had stopped running the universe in honor of Yeshua, as if he were one of their own. There we stood wrapped in darkness in the middle of the day! Still stunned by the day’s events, I tried to pull myself together and keep some semblance of order among the onlookers. We hadn’t exactly planned for a night watch at high noon, so there were no torches or firelight. There were just dark silhouettes, shadowy movements, and voices from all directions.

For three confusing hours we stood there standing guard blindfolded. The robe I had won still embraced me. This Yeshua’s death was somehow changing me, but I couldn’t understand why. All I knew was the whole world seemed to be in mourning. So I just stood there clutching the robe as if for dear life, and listened to the voices hidden in the darkness.

A group of women stood behind me trembling with deep sobs. Their pain tore through my armor into my own soul. They just may have been the only friends this man had.

But I had to keep it together, so I fumbled awkwardly away from them making my way closer to the cross of Yeshua. My effort to keep it together was destroyed as one voice rose into the obscure mid-day darkness. It’s sound was more than I could take.

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

“My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

The sound of this man’s heart falling into pieces pushed me over the edge and into the abyss of sorrow. I fell headlong into despair and grief. How could a man I had never really known, never spoken to, have such an impact on me?

I had beaten him in the courtyard, dragged him through the streets of Jerusalem, staked his body to a sadistic cross and stood in the dark listening to him die. Before today he had only been the subject of occasional gossip, or the butt of a joke in the barracks. So why, after thousands of crucifixions, was I the one being crucified? It seemed that way.

Why was I standing there, looking like a blubbering clown in a cruel comedy, dressed in armor and a bloody robe weeping for a man dying on a cross in the dark?

I tried again to shift my attention away from Yeshua.

I listened to some bystanders whispering something about a guy named Elijah, coming to take Yeshua down from the cross. So I tried to peer through the murkiness to be sure no one made such a crazy attempt. You never know what a fanatic may do in a situation like this.

I heard the centurion order a few soldiers to make their way to the temple. It seems there was some disturbance there. The massive veil that guarded their holy place had been torn down or something. I was ordered to stay in my position and try to keep order.

How could I keep order when I was struggling to keep myself together?

But I did the best I could. I stood by the cross, weary from this horrific day. I found myself leaning backward up against the cross. I sunk into it hoping to sneak in a little rest. I could hear the broken rhythm of Yeshua’s breathing. The cross vibrated with every thrust of his body, as he had to push himself up on his nailed feet long enough to suck in a mouthful of air then crash back down in pain.

Push up. Breathe. Crash down. The spikes tore into his flesh, exacting a toll for every breath.

Push up. Breathe. Crash down. The weary cross tottered with every movement.

Push up. Breathe. Crash down. Then it stopped.

Silence. Stillness. Darkness. He was gone.

I fell deeper into the splintery cross my sword falling helplessly into a stream of blood on the ground. I was thankful for the cover of darkness at that moment. No one would see this soldier who had been so strong and proud at sunrise, now totally disarmed by the end of the day.

I’ve defeated many a strong man in battle. I always expected to die in a sword fight at the hand of a warrior. But I never expected to be taken out by a dying man on a cross. He had slain me with a strange kind of grace. I was pierced by his wounds. I felt dead, but strangely alive at the same time. I didn’t understand this insanity. All I could do was lean into the cross, drop my weapons of war and rest in the unexplainable warmth of that bloody robe.

After a few moments I heard familiar footsteps. I was shaken at the approaching image of my commanding officer. If he saw me like this I was dead. But somehow it didn’t matter what happened to me. This moment with Yeshua was worth dying for. The centurion walked toward me, his footsteps stopping just ahead. I braced myself for a barrage of curses and threats. I felt his heavy hand on my shoulder with a gentleness I had never expected from him. He said, “Surely this man was the Son of a god.” Then he walked away shaking his head….

Turnaround

Mark 15:6-15

“Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner…” v. 6

“So I get to be the carrot on the stick, eh?” Barabbas knew what this game was all about. He had seen it every year. “He stands there on his perch above those groveling puppies and tosses them a bone from the dungeon to keep them quiet.” The prisoner stabbed the guards a thousand times with his eyes while they walked him out of that rat hole.  He had to shield his eyes from the first sun he’d seen in days. The muffle of the gathering crowds blasted away a month of silence from his consciousness. “Look at them, like a bunch of hungry chickens at feeding time. Pathetic fools.”

Three men stood together waiting for a decision to be made. “Why don’t they just dispense with the formalities and get this over with?” He snarled. Hate filled him to overflowing and poured out in all directions. It washed over the crowd of puppets below, who would say or do anything to keep the breadcrumbs coming off the table. “If they put up with this Pilate, they deserve him!” Then it washed over the soldiers. “Prancing around with swords and spears spouting off about strength and honor. Cowards in armor, they are.” Then it splashed onto the religious leaders, buzzing in and out of the crowds like bees. “The only god they have is jingling in their purses.” But the tidal wave of his hostility crashed on the head of Pilate. “Our benevolent Governor, Pilate, one of Rome’s finest! Ha!” Barabbas greatest ambition was to “be the one who plunged the first dagger into that man’s pompous flesh, and rip open that sack of dung he calls a heart!” Then he glared across the pavement, just to the left of the Governor. “Who is that poor sap? Looks like the good governor can’t decide which carrot to throw”

Barabbas took a break from the circus around him to “study the competition.” Just to the left of the governor stood Yeshua of Nazareth. “What have we here?” he thought to himself. Yeshua stood quietly, hands and feet bound in the same fashion as Barabbas. His face was slightly swollen, blackish red fist prints decorated his cheek bones. Blood crept out the corner of one eyebrow, mingling with sweat and grime and traced the outside of his temple. “Looks like his troubles have just begun.” Barabbas thought to himself. Looking a little closer he began to recognize the man behind the blood and bruises. He heard someone say, “The Rabbi from Nazareth.” Barabbas had seen this man before. “I’m a dead man for sure.” He told himself. “There’s no way they’ll pick me over this one.”

Barabbas never was much for religion, or religious people. To him it was no less a game than politics. “It’s all to keep people in line!” He often said. He saw through the fake prayers of money hungry Pharisees. It was no different than Pilate’s pompous crowd pleasing prisoner releases and pompous speeches. The right words, the right motions can make people do whatever you want. But still he admired this Yeshua. Barabbas had heard him teach before being arrested. This rabbi seemed to at least believe his own words, unlike the others who used God to get people to follow them. “If there is a God, this guy knows him!” Yeshua seemed of a different stripe than the rest. Standing there, He looked more like a King, even a god, than a criminal. There was a serene sadness about him. What struck Barabbas the most was that this Yeshua seemed to be the only person in this whole circus who wasn’t thinking about himself.

“This is it.” He thought. “No way they’ll pick me.” He looked down at the religious leaders, as they milled about the crowds. He could tell they were doing what they did best. They were working the crowds to sway them. “I’m sunk now.” He thought. Surely they were out to save the good man on the left. “Even religious people know the difference between good and evil, don’t they? They’ll surely pick one of their own to save.”

Silence fell beneath the Governor’s outstretched hand.  “Who shall I release to you? The King of the Jews? or this murderer.” Barabbas could feel his whole life crashing down on his shoulders. He knew this was it. Once the leaders got the crowds on their side, they would save their King, and Barabbas would be killed. “This is one decision they’ll get right for a change.” Barabbas thought. He knew he was guilty, and this Yeshua had been clearly set up by someone who wanted him dead. No sense in hoping for mercy, he knew his fate was sealed.

In the next few seconds the crowds would be calling for Yeshua, then they would crucify Barabbas. “God, if you’re out there, I’m not asking you to get me out of this. Just….Oh what’s the use!” He hung his head and waited for the verdict. “How could I expect God to let this innocent man die in my place? Such a thing would be unthinkable.” What kind of God would let a completely innocent man shed his blood in the place of a clearly evil man? What kind of God would allow such a ridiculous turnaround of justice?

Then the chanting started…

Hours later, Barabbas sat on a lonely boulder staring at three crosses in the distance. All he could do was let it all wash over him. Was he a lucky fool in a display of religious stupidity, or had God just done the unthinkable? Was it dumb luck or something more? Had he merely escaped death or had something more profound just taken place?

Was Yeshua a poor idealist, or did he look like a king for a reason? “If he was a king, I’d sure like to live in his country. He would be a king worth following.” Barabbas snickered at himself for such silly thoughts, got up from the rock and started walking, not sure where road would take him.  He simply knew his life would be a bit different now, though he wasn’t sure how.