Criminal set free

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

This man was a real outlaw. For years he got away with it. His main grudge was against the government and he made his feelings known. Demonstrations in the street were no quiet affair for him. Under his shirt was a knife, always ready for action.

Any opposition had to watch carefully or they would be on the receiving end of his anger. In fact, there came a day in a street fight when he slew a man in cold blood.

As we know, crime doesn’t pay — at least most of the time. Behind bars he awaited his death sentence to be carried out. But instead, one morning, the authorities set him free. Straight out the door. Gone.

The Roman governor wanted someone else set free that day. The one whose trial was taking place. It was customary in that culture to emancipate a prisoner at that time of the year. But the crowd who brought Jesus to Pilate loudly demanded His death and a substitute to be set free. That’s how Barabbas came to walk out of jail. In a very real sense, Jesus died in his place.

Before His death, Jesus said the often-quoted words, “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends”. On Anzac Day you will hear those words again as it is pointed out that many war heroes gave their lives to protect their country. They are our substitutes in a way. They died instead of us.

Jesus laid down His life not only for friends but for enemies as well. On the cross, while they taunted Him, He prayed Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.

Yes, it was for us He died. In our place. For what reason? An old song says it well: “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin; He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in. We may not know, we cannot tell what pains He had to bear, But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there.”

Have you ever asked the risen Christ to forgive you and set you on the right road? Why not?

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