It's before daybreak. I twist open the backdoor handle. Slip into the crisp, cool air. With Bible in hand, I tiptoe across to the table. Quietly, pull out a chair. Kneel on it. (Sitting on one's feet when cold, helps!) After prayer, I open up to Isaiah. Where I'm up to in my quest to read through the Bible again. Isaiah 53. I'm amazed yet again, but freshly, how unlike human nature it is to be silent when blamed for something you are not guilty of! My selfish nature cries out to defend, justify myself when in the right. Yet He didn't!
The blazing, ball of fire emerges over the horizon. Right in my face. I finish up writing in my journal. The warm rays beckon me to activity. I stick the bookmark in Isaiah in the correct chapter. Close and clasp the Book between my fingers, open to Acts now. I abandon the chair and head down the back steps towards the driveway.
I begin by reciting audibly, what I have memorised. I get to chapter 3, verse 14. "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired that a murderer be granted unto you."
I picture the scene. The deafening crowd shouting "Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!" in answer to Pilate's question of whom to release. I wonder. What possessed them to make such an irrational choice?! Would it be the same if the scene were to take place again? I shake my head. I don't know whether it would happen today the same way. But, I'm sure I'd never be in that shouting, crazed crowd.
I go on to recite the following, already-memorised chapters, and memorise the day's portion. I get very warm after walking around back and forth so many times. I head back to the house to shed a few layers. To finish off my devotions and join the family in having breakfast.
Evening comes... as does milking time. In the cool, clear air, thoughts resurface. Would I pick Jesus today, instead of Barabbas? I find myself seeing the scenario playing out in a similar way in my everday life. What if every choice I make, is that choice replayed? No way! Surely not! I wonder, horrified at the thought. How would I be choosing between them in the little things? Then, I see it. Early in the morning, when I wake up, it's Christ, calling me to spend time with Him. Or there is Barabbas who is worse than me, making me feel pretty good. He will not bother me in my extra sleep. Which choice? If I choose Christ, I have to be different from the crowd.
I see that choice again in my use of time. In my choice of entertainment and recreation. What if
I did go with the majority? Watched all those movies, read all those books...? Do I want my
choices to scream out, "Barabbas, I'll have Barabbas!"?
The Holy One and the Just remains. Motioning for me to take up my cross, and follow Him. Accept suffering, embarassment, and a life out of pace with this [crazed] world. To stand apart from them. Not conformed to them, but transformed, re-created by Him.
Hating evil. Not putting it before my eyes. Seeking Him in those times instead.
Again, I see the two side by side. There is Jesus, innocent, God-like; on trial like a common criminal. There is Barabbas. Hatred gleams in his eyes. Guilt is stamped on his face. Fiercesome to look at. He's been in prison for killing. He's not sorry. Humanity is that crowd. Why aren't we repulsed by Barabbas? Why? Why can the evil seem so attractive?
I saw Barabbas today. So I chose Jesus.