This week is a very special week. It is the most important week on the entire Christian calendar and within this week we remember the events that changed our world forever. I always try to do something extra special this week of the year, and this year I have chosen to journey with you through a book by Adam Hamilton. 24 Hours that Changed the World is a great book with only 7 chapters. So Each Day - Monday to Easter Sunday - I will review a chapter from the book. I very much recommend that you click the link here and overnight yourself a copy so that you can join in the discussions of each chapter in the comments below.
Chapter 4 - Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate
Today's Chapter challenges me in many ways. It discusses the events of Pilate. At first, we have the accusations. There is something that happens even here that we as Christians should learn from. When hurtful and accusatory words were spoken about/ to Jesus, He did not become defensive. He did not himself become accusatory. He remained silent. This is so different from normal that a man, who had no historical problem with killing Jews, was hesitant. Something about Jesus stood out to Pilate so much that he "washed his hands" of Jesus Blood. So what is it about being calm and not defending yourself is so compelling that it would lead to this? It is just so unusual. The first thing I do, and many people I know, is to answer harsh words with harsh words. When someone speaks negatively to or about me without even thinking I react defensively often in a way that is just as petty as what is being said. In fact, this concept is so pervasive in human interactions that one of the best books on how to relate to people is almost exclusively about this subject, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If we are to be like Christ this is a very significant lesson.
In this chapter Hamilton also clearly communicates the idea of Substitution. Substitution is the belief that Christ who was sinless took the place of the sinners on the cross that we may be saved from sin and death and brought back into relationship with God. This belief means that the death Jesus Died was intended for me, and for you. The way that this is highlighted almost makes me jealous of Barabbas on that day. He was the first to experience the realization that Christ took his place on the cross when Pilate released him to the crowd while shouting to Crucify Jesus. Can you imagine a beaten and bloody Christ, standing silent across from you about to be lead to and nailed on a cross to die and you who have been guilty of murder (all sin is equal in the eyes of God) are being set free? Can you imagine looking into his eyes knowing that you should be in his place?
Can you imagine the reassuring look he might give back saying "don't feel guilty I choose to take this that you might live to know a God who LOVES YOU."
If we can put ourselves in Barabbas' place in that instance how would our lives change?