Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 27:11-26
God wants you and me to have a joyful and abundant life. Many times, the quality of life depends on the choices that we make in our lives. We cannot create the situations around us but we can choose how to react to them. It is said that we cannot control 99% of the things in our lives. The 1% that we can control is how we respond to what is happening in our lives.
For example, in Genesis we read a story about Joseph. He was sold as a slave when he was a young boy by his own brothers. He could have held a grudge against his brothers and wasted his life in hatred. However, he digested his emotional response in his faith and moved on. He faithfully served his master in Egypt and became a head steward of the house. He made a choice to have a life.
Then the master’s wife tried to seduce him. She was quite aggressive. However, Joseph refused to betray the trust of the master. He kept his faith. Then the master’s wife set a trap for him. Joseph was again thrown into a jail. He could have complained about both God and his master. However, he chose to be a model prisoner. Soon Joseph became the supervisor of the prisoners! He made another choice to have his life.
As we know, later, Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt. He saved people during the seven years’ famine in the world. Because Joseph chose to live with courage he could overcome his personal difficulties and make his life useful both for God and for humanity. He could have given up his life when he was sold as a slave. He could have destroyed himself and others when he was falsely accused as a rapist. However, he made decisions based on his faith in God. Abundant life is the result of our choices based on our faith.
In the Bible, Jesus is kneeling down before Pilate, the Governor. However, it did not happen only two thousand years ago. It happens over and over again in our heart when we have conflict whether we follow Jesus or we follow our own desires. Many times, in the court of our soul, Jesus, the Messiah is kneeling down before Pilate, our reason and mind. There is also a crowd in the form of our desires. We know morally what is right and what is wrong. The Holy Spirit, in the form of Pilate’s wife, comes and gives us advice: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him. However, our desires shout out to us. “Crucify him!” Then what do I do with Barabbas?
Barabbas is the name from Bar (son) and Abbas (father). Literally, it means “a son of a father.” Abbas was a common name at that time and so Barabbas can be “the son of Abbas.” However, it can be you and me because we are all sons of our fathers! (Or daughters of our mothers!) We always love to release ourselves from accusations. We find always some excuses for ourselves. And we crucify Jesus to do whatever we want to do!
Jesus is still praying for us when we make such foolish choices: “Lord, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing!” We can continue our lives only through this Grace! However, let us pray that we should have God’s wisdom to make better choices in our lives.
• When did you choose Barabbas over Jesus in your life?
• God has given us second chances over and over again even when we have chosen Barabbas over Jesus. In what way have you experienced God’s Grace in your life?