The Ridiculous and Blatant Glory of the Cross

Posted: March 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

12And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Mark 15:12–15 (ESV)

The releasing of Barabbas is a vivid picture of the type of heart and the potential for sin that lies within each of us. It is also a vivid picture of the heart turned over in judgment. In God’s sovereignty, he gave the people what they wanted. He gave them what they believed to be a good choice. He gave them what they thought would satisfy them. They made the wrong choice. It seems ridiculous and blatant. They chose rebellion and hatred in the heart of a schismatic murderer, Barabbas. Why? Rebellion and hatred were in their heart, too.

What if others could look on as you made choices throughout the week? They could hear all the innuendo in the joke you chose to tell. They could sense the disdain and contempt coloring your words as you chose to gossip. They could see you choose to post that Facebook rant against the liberals. They could observe you choosing to be in front of the computer lusting for someone else. They could watch as you choose to lose your temper when you got interrupted in the middle of your project. They could listen to you choose to boldly criticize the decisions of your employer. They could see you choose to leave a small tip because you had to wait for the waitress to fill your water. They could standby as you choose to waste hours binge watching The Walking Dead, Fox News, or The Bachelor. They would look as you choose to stay up late playing Legend of Zelda, Settlers of Catan, or Dominion.

Then, they could watch you choose to go to church on Sunday if you don’t have anything else going on and you got enough sleep. You are always on time for work at 8:00 AM, five-days a week, but Sunday is your only chance to sleep-in. They could peek as you choose to pass up an opportunity to give because you’re barely getting by on Dish Network, lattes, and grass-fed beef. Besides, you have a mistrust for institutions and how money is chosen to be spent. They could see you choose to check Instagram during a forty-five-minute sermon because you are a visual learner and it’s hard to stay engaged. They could witness you choosing to forgo involvement in a small group, because you’re the only one who’s had a long day at work. Besides, you’d rather be at home unless you need to get groceries or a haircut, to run errands or to enjoy hobbies. You would choose to attend the prayer meeting, as long as you don’t have to talk to God around others; that qualifies as public speaking and you never choose to talk to anyone out loud when you are in public, ever.

However, they didn’t see you choose to read the Bible during the rest of the week because you’re not much of a reader—unless of course you count fiction, The Drudge Report, Wikipedia, or any book on American History.

They did witness you choosing to get passionate defending your second amendment rights, your right to home-school, and the need for immigration reform. Those are topics you have chosen to be well-acquainted with and are comfortable debating anyone on social media. They could really see you choose to be vocal about Christian values when they see you post on your timeline the meme:

“If you think prayer and Bible reading should be allowed in public school, share this with ten friends.”

Although you know most of them won’t share it, you know your real friends will and everyone who doesn’t, will probably question the genuineness of their own faith. They would see you choosing to put the fish symbol on your vehicle because you know sharing your faith is important with those who don’t cut you off in traffic.

At last, they could witness you choosing to get downright offended when someone cared enough about your spiritual life to challenge your devotion to Christ. They would hear you choosing to tell that person they were acting like a legalistic Pharisee and they need to be aware that we are finally under grace. They would hear you choose to say that you are going somewhere else where they don’t expect a commitment and aren’t so judgmental. They would hear others choosing to feel sorry for you when they heard about how you had been mistreated by church people.

It is just like us to choose to see the ridiculous and blatantly wrong choices of others and choose not to see our own. How could they choose Barabbas over Jesus? How could they choose to shout: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”? They chose Barabbas for the same reasons we choose so many other things over Jesus, our hearts are often so hard, and we’re the last ones to know it.

Thankfully, the ridiculous and blatant glory cross softens sinful hearts. God chose the cross to show wrath and mercy kissing each other. He chose the cross to be a public display of affection between justice and peace. God chose the cross to demonstrate the righteous requirement of the law had been satisfied and atonement for sins had been achieved. However, it is the resurrection of Jesus that gives us the power to make new choices. We have entered life from death and can choose to put off the old man, place our sins underfoot, and put on the new man, Christ Jesus. We can choose to love God because he first chose to love us.

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