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Lenten Devotional: Mar 28 (Palm Sunday)

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Today’s Texts: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Phil 4:5-11; Luke 19:28-40; Luke 23:1-49

Reflection on Luke 23:1-49

In describing the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ, all four gospels briefly mention a person by the name of Barabbas. I am familiar with the name because there was an old movie (1961) by that name that I enjoyed watching as a kid.

According to the Bible, Barabbas was in prison because he was a rebel against the Roman government and a murderer. Barabbas was guilty and was “on death row” waiting to be crucified. But something happened to change that.

Jesus was being falsely accused of rebellion against Rome. The governor Pilate found him to be innocent and wanted to release him. As was the custom during Passover, the governor could release a prisoner that the people chose.  Pilate offered the crowd a choice: Barabbas or Jesus.

Just days earlier on Sunday, Jesus was triumphantly welcomed into Jerusalem as a king. Waving palm branches, the people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Now those cheers turned to jeers. Now they cried out, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!” The people chose to release Barabbas instead of Jesus.

Barabbas was guilty and deserved to die. Yet he was set free. Instead Jesus who never sinned was punished by crucifixion.

Barabbas, in some sense, represents all of us who are Christians. We are guilty of rebellion against God. We deserve to die. Yet Jesus took our place. He was our substitute. What a wonderful savior!

* * * *
Steve Chin

Steven Chin has served in the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (www.bcec.net) for over 30 years and is currently the Senior Pastor.  He is an American Born Chinese and received his theological training at Dallas Seminary.

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