I wonder what Barabbas did on Saturday evening. He, of course, was now a free man, released from prison for his crime against the prevailing governing authority, Rome.
The story so as we are told, eventually turned to Pilot questioning the people as to who they would release, Jesus or Barabbas. Interestingly, archaeologists confirm that the prison where Barabbas would have been confined was nearly a half a mile from where Jesus was on trial. This means he would not have heard the questions Pilot asked of Jesus but definitely would have heard the angry mob’s cries.
The first question was, “Shall I release Jesus or Barabbas?” From his prison cell he would have heard his name shouted out and may have even equated these shouts with support for his stand against Rome. But the next thing he would have heard, because he couldn’t hear Pilot ask the people, “What will you have me do with Jesus,” was that determined mob shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him!”
I’ve no doubt Barabbas walked from his cell a very confused man, freed because the people insisted that this man named Jesus must be killed. I wonder what Barabbas thought about on Saturday evening… more important, I wonder how he responded when on Sunday morning news began to travel of the man who died in his place walking forth from his grave.
What is it that we will contend against that is greater than what we may have desired for?
In a previous day, my ambitions were bold, bending for no demand against so-called orthodoxy. Then, thinking maybe I was a bit stiff, several years ago, I yielded my position. Now I know I buckled to the pressure of liberal and modern thought. Without doubt, I believe this is why God led me to the letter in our New Testament written by Jesus’ brother Jude. My long past brother in Christ writes seemingly harsh words… but move my heart closer to his brother, both his Lord and mine.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message anyone, anywhere will ever hear. The God, who we now play games with in western world, is the same God who pronounced death upon Adam and Eve for eating a piece of fruit, who destroyed the very same Israelites He rescured from Egypt for unbelief, who eternally cursed angels for following Satan, who literally burnt Sodom and its accompanying cities for sins against Him.
This God, who created everything, owns everything and therefore has the right to declare rules for everyone, did. His rules are law… and we intentionally break them.
So He sent His Son, Jesus. God’s Son lived the life we cannot live, kept the laws we cannot keep, honored the Father as we cannot. He did so much more. Yes, He kept the Law, but declaring much more, He perfectly walked within the Father’s will.
Because He did, He died. Simply because Jesus was perfectly obedient to His Father’s will, He was tried, condemned, and put to death. In reality, he was murdered, because he committed no crime. He did exactly as the Father desired.
The Son came to die, to even face His own Father’s wrath, not for anything he had done, but for what I have done… and for what you have done. Friends, this is good news… the Gospel!
It is this Gospel, Good News, that brings rescue from Judgement and Hellfire that we must all hear and respond rightly to.
No wonder Jude is so disturbed by false teaching. Why aren’t we? Do we really get it that God’s grace only becomes reality with our Biblical belief in Jesus… His finished work?
This past week in church, I was so caught up in the song, “Be Unto Your Name,” that I think I attracted unwanted attention from many (my voice leaves a lot to be desired when singing), listeners, and I sincerely apologize for my horrible voice, an atrocity compared with the video below, but friends, when we recognize who Jesus is and all He has done, we are left with nothing to offer but worship.
The sin we’re rescued from wasn’t a parking ticket (Gilbert’s “What is the Gospel”), it was literally because, in our rebellion, we were found treasonous enemies against our Maker and LORD. Our sin is our shouting, “Get the hell off that throne! It’s mine now!”
No wonder the message of judgement is so severe. How couldn’t it be? Do we literally think we can dethrone the King without a declaration of war?
Yet, He gives more grace… and I shed more tears. Oh that the world would see a love this great. Who is it that gives mercy and grace to their very own enemies? I promise you it is not me. I’m pretty confident it is not many of you either. But God does. He looks to the one who demands that He relinquish His throne to them and says, “I love you… I’ve prepared a place for you… I’ve paid all your debts… come to Me, and find rest in My Son Jesus.”
This is why Jude can’t allow false teaching to exist. False teachers rob us of truth, of
all that we are meant to be, all that God calls us to, all that is already ours. Our greatest benefit in this world is to enjoy and glorify God… that goes back to a garden. When we dethrone Him, we destroy the privilege of fellowship with our Creator, King, and Heavenly Father.
Jesus, the Son, came to give us life, freedom from our sin, yes, even from death, but so much more. He offers us the privilege of entering back into a relationship with our Father, our eternal Heavenly Father, the One who created us, the One who knows us, the One who desires to be with us. If, with a little wisdom, we are honest, there is nothing that can be more desirable than this.
Jude is both protecting the honor of his God, and the people of his God. It is our responsibility also.
I desired greatly this morning to speak of best things, both relating to me and to you. Instead, I am compelled to urge your immediate involvement to counter an ongoing movement in our midst.
Sadly, it has come to my attention that there are people who have stealthily taken positions of leadership among us with their end-desire their own gain and our demise.
We must contend earnestly for what is right!
Should we be surprised by their guile? We were told they were coming. Now, these wily people have secured positions that allow them to feed their self-serving appetites, bask in their lewdness, while even denying the authority of our true leader.
Jude 3, 4
He’s Alive! He’s Alive!