Barabbas

As we enter the Easter season, I thought I’d share a look at Jesus’ sacrifice from the perspective of the murderer whose life was spared because if Him.

CROWN OF THORNS ULTRA MODERN

My heart pounded
As they dragged me out.
They stood me close beside Him,
And I looked about.

The crowd was frenzied:
With rage and raw disgust.
I wasn’t sure the real cause —
Why they fumed and cussed.

I glanced beside me
To catch a glimpse of Him,
But what my eyes saw in His
Convicted me within.

When the guards shouted,
“Who’s it going to be?”
Then I understood they’d choose
To set one free.

“We want Barabbas!
Set Barabbas free!”
I could not believe my ears:
They chose, not Him, but me.

“But what of Jesus?”
Pilate asked the crowd.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
He is not our God.

My shackles fell off:
By law a free man.
Pilate called for water then
And there he washed his hands.

The day grew darker
As He was hanging there,
Upon a cross with thieves each side;
Then He said a prayer.

He prayed, “Forgive them.”
Did that include me?
Then He cried, “It is finished!”
I thought, how can this be?

For suddenly I knew —
He’d died to save me too —
Even me — Barabbas.

+++

(Scripture Reference: Matthew 27)

~~~

~~~

Re-Run From Holy Week, 2014: Nathaniel’s Answer

 

NAZARETH, ISRAEL - EDITED

 

Nathaniel was a man who knew no guile.
He walked with Jesus, loved Him all the while.
When first he heard His name, a question posed,
But waited ’til the answer was disclosed.

“From Nazareth can any good come forth?”
He asked of those who knew that city’s worth.
He asked for meditation, not reply,
Yet found the answer true in Jesus’ eyes.

And although from the garden he did run
With others as they scattered one by one,
As Roman guards led Jesus, bound, away,
There came a reckoning after the third day.

As Mary ran to spread the glorious news,
Nathaniel, hidd’n with others, all confused,
Received her words with doubt, and hope, and fear,
And hungered so His Master’s voice to hear.

Then Jesus stood among them, His work done:
Salvation for the world from Nazareth comes.

 

(Scripture Reference: John 1: 45-51, John 20)

~~~

 

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Poems of Passion Week – Day 8 – ‘It’s In Me’

EMPTY TOMB - BEAUTIFULFREEPICTURES - credits

 

Are you buried deep in sorrow
Over past and hurtful wounds?
Has the weight of your own failures
Left you feeling failure-doomed?


Has the peril of the systems
Of the economic sphere
Left you beaten down and overwhelmed
And buried under fear?


Has the rampant spread of sickness,
Diagnosis of sure death,
Left you reeling in confusion,
Condemned to draw your final breath?


Then look away: from all the darkness,
From the death and fear and pain.
Hear the rumble of the tombstone
As it rolls from off the grave.
See the lightning flash of glory
As the Son begins to rise,
As He steps from death’s dark dungeon:
The successful sacrifice.


Hear Him say, “The curse is broken!
I have come to give you life.
Ask of Me, and I will answer;
I have victory for your strife.
I’ve a storehouse of provisions;
I have healing for your pain;
I’ve forgiveness for your sin,
And I can make you clean again.


“For as surely as I died for you,
Took all your sin on me,
So My resurrection power is yours;
It’s enough to set you free.


There is no price;


It’s for the taking.


But the only place you’ll find it

Is in Me.”

 

 

~

 

 

~~~


 

Poems of Passion Week – Day 6 – The Reason

 

JESUS IN GARDEN - NEGATIVE  -KAREN'S WHIMSY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O, Lamb of God
So pure, so holy, undefiled,
You came so meekly,
Vulnerable, a tiny child.


You took our sin
And took all of its consequence.
You chose the cross,
And on it your lifeblood was spent.


But for what cause,
When tempted in the garden that night,
Did you still choose
To let yourself be crucified?


You told us, Lord;
If we’d just listen, we would know.
You said, “Because
I love the Father, I will go.”


Lord, work in us
That holy and obedient love,
That we, when tried,
Will speak and act only for God.

 

~~~
(Photo courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy)

 

Poems of Passion Week – Day 3 – ‘Sufficient’

 

CRUCIFIX - FOR YOU - GOSPEL GIFSSeized and stripped and slapped and spit upon,
Scornful salutations; sorrow; shame;
Satan stalks the Son of God and Son of Man:
Scarlet stripes, scalding tears, searing pain;
Search the scriptures, surely they the story tell:
Insatiable evil strikes; the Lamb is slain.
But surely, it’s my sins He bore, my sorrow,
My sickness, my distress, my grief, my pain,
Submitted Sacrifice: He sealed the promise;
Sufficient, He bought me peace with God again.

 

~~~

 

 

~~~

 

Poems of Passion Week – Day 2

 

 

CROWN OF THORNS ULTRA MODERNBARABBAS

My heart pounded
As they dragged me out.
They stood me close beside Him,
And I looked about.


The crowd was frenzied:
With rage and raw disgust.
I wasn’t sure the real cause —
Why they fumed and cussed.


I glanced beside me
To catch a glimpse of Him,
But what my eyes saw in His
Convicted me within.


When the guards shouted,
“Who is it going to be?”
Then I understood they’d choose
To set one free.


“We want Barabbas!
Set Barabbas free!”
I could not believe my ears:
They chose, not Him, but me.


“But what of Jesus?”
Pilate asked the crowd.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
He is not our God!”


My shackles fell off:
By law a free man.
Pilate called for water then
And there he washed his hands.


The day grew darker
As He was hanging there,
Upon a cross with thieves each side;
Then He said a prayer.


He prayed, “Forgive them.”
Did that include me?
Then He cried, “It is finished!”
I thought, how can this be?


For suddenly I knew —
He’d died to save me too —
Even me — Barabbas.

 

 

+++

 

 

 

(Scripture Reference: Matthew 27)

~~~

 

 

~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poems of Passion Week – Day 1

 

CROSS WITH CROWN OF THORNS - BLUE
I am setting myself the task, during Passion Week, of writing one poem a day about the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to focus in some special way on His suffering and death, and then His glorious victory and resurrection for my sake.

I can’t think of a better way than to create a poem every day from today – Palm Sunday – through Resurrection Day – Easter Sunday. In fact, since much of the church in several parts of the world celebrates Easter Week (the week following Resurrection Day), I think I will even write a poem for Easter Monday of that week as well. I hope these poems add to your commemoration of our Lord’s loving sacrifice and to your celebration of His glorious salvation.

( Those of you who follow all three of my blogs will most likely see several of this week’s posts on all three sites. I just think they are too important to limit their publication to one small venue.)

 

Here’s Palm Sunday’s Poem:

 

SACRIFICE

A crown,
A diadem,
A shackle placed upon the brow.

Bestowed
Contemptuously,
And scarlet robe on shoulders bowed.

The grief,
The agony,
The tortuous, mutilating pain.

All born
By Innocence
To give me peace and health again.

A cross,
On Calvary:
To execute the Father’s plan.

A tomb,
Now empty stands:
He’s paid the price for every man.

~

 

 

No Other Name

CROSS & CROWN

Jesus the Christ:  “… There is no other name under heaven, that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 3:12).

There is no other “religion” on the face of the earth — no other religious leader — no other dogma — no other doctrine — no other system of belief — that offers man the guarantee of salvation from his own sinfulness and from this cursed world — into a life of eternal joy and freedom from all that harms and destroys.

Every other system of religion offers man a life of working, struggling, straining, following rules, and sacrificing in an effort to earn an eternity on a higher plane. But even in the midst of the working and sacrificing, the disciple of those religions is never confident of his eternal rewards. He has a hope that he may get those rewards if he’s good enough — but he has no guarantee — no promise.

Only Jesus — Yeshuah — the Christ — the Messiah — offers man a guaranteed eternal salvation that is a free gift. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should … have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

Only Jesus offers His own perfectly-lived life, His own suffering, His own sacrifice, His own death, and His own resurrection for the sake of those who follow Him. He paid the price; He won the reward: That reward was eternal life with the Creator of the universe and the right to impart that life to anyone who would receive Him and the work He accomplished on their behalf.

The price was paid by Him alone. So the reward of eternal life with God is in His name alone. If any of the other religious leaders of the world had paid the price for us, we could be saved by following them. But the simple truth is that they did not. And that’s why all those religions can do is tell us we need to live better lives and follow a bunch of rules and make continual sacrifices of one kind or another in the hope of finding a better eternity after we die.

Why would anyone follow after the teachings, the dogmas, the doctrines of a belief system that requires them to struggle and strain and perfect themselves in order to have a slim hope of something better, when Jesus the Christ stretches out His nail-pierced hands and offers eternity with the God of the universe for free?

Perhaps it’s our ego — our self-righteous belief that we can ultimately be our own savior — that makes some of us choose a belief system that forces us to try to do all the work ourselves — to “earn” the hope of a better eternity. But what a waste. When we could be living a life free from the fear of missing the mark somehow. We could be living a life filled with the joy of knowing for sure that we are moving toward a glorious eternity and amazing rewards and blessings from the Creator of the universe. Knowing that the end of the race is guaranteed makes running it so much easier.

Jesus the Christ is risen. He’s alive. And He’s offering the guarantee of eternity with God to every human being on the face of the earth — paid for by Him. That is why “there is no other name under heaven, that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

~

Looking At Your Lamb

 

LAMB - LIGHTER

Today is ‘Good Friday,’ and it brings us almost to the end of the 6-week Lenten season. During that season Christians all over the world have focused on the suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, contemplating the awful price He paid for man’s rebellion and sin. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).

The Word of God also says, in the book of Hebrews, “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. …We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Now where there is forgiveness … there is no longer any offering for sin. Since, therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus … let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

As believers consider what Jesus has done for all mankind this season, it would be good to remember this truth: Even under the Old Covenant, when a man brought a lamb to be sacrificed for his sin, neither the priest nor God Himself looked at the man to see if he measured up to a certain standard so that his sacrifice could be accepted and his sin forgiven. The only thing they looked at was the lamb itself. If the lamb was unblemished — spotless — perfect — the sacrifice was accepted, and the man walked away free of all guilt and condemnation.

So it is in the better covenant that Jesus instituted through His death and resurrection. In the New Covenant — as in the Old — God is not looking at you and me to see if we measure up well enough to be forgiven or to be admitted into His presence.  He’s looking at your Lamb.  He’s looking at my Lamb.  So we can rejoice, beloved!  We can go free from all sin and guilt and shame. We are forgiven and accepted totally and freely — for OUR LAMB IS PERFECT!

~

HE IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!


And now we are FREE from our sins of the past. We are FREE from the need to sin in the future. We are FREE from sickness and disease. We are FREE from poverty and lack. We are FREE from evil habits and addictions. We are FREE from worry and fear. We are FREE from defeat by our enemies. The Word of God says that all of these things are part of the curse of the broken Law, and that Jesus redeemed us from that curse by His finished work on the cross. (Deuteronomy 28, Galatians 3).

So now we are FREE to break the power of the enemy over us and our families. We are FREE to walk in forgiveness and love. We are FREE to enter the holy presence of God Himself with confidence and joy. We are FREE TO BE JUST LIKE HIM!!!

JESUS!    “… there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 3:12).

 

(Artwork courtesy of gospelgifs.com).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

This week I have borrowed a picture from BeautifulFreePictures.Com because it carries the message of Easter better than any photo I have taken personally.

When man rebelled against his Creator, he lost his opportunity to live with that holy Creator for eternity and was destined to be banished from His presence forever. But that loving God, who had not only created man, but longed for his companionship with all of His heart, had fore-knowingly “arranged” for a Savior to step in and take the punishment for man’s sin.

When that Savior came and lived a perfect life for man, then willingly went to the cross and died for man, accepting the separation from God that was part of the punishment, He did so in faith that what He and the Father had “arranged” would come to pass.  They had “arranged” that three days after the price was paid in full, Jesus would leave behind Him an empty tomb that bore witness of man’s total redemption.

As a result of that finished work, Jesus and the Father have also “arranged” for each one who will accept Jesus and His substitutionary sacrifice to also leave behind his own empty tomb and take up permanent residence in the presence of the Creator, to live with Him for eternity.