Freedom Isn’t Free – Day 37

Can you imagine if all the characters in the Bible were alive today and had Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram accounts? It would be an interesting way to learn more about some of the not-so-major characters of the Bible, or even just have a deeper understanding of the impact Jesus had on people like “the blind man” or “the leper” or other characters we don’t even have names for.

One character I would be particularly interested in “following” on said hypothetical social media accounts would be Barabbas. I never really gave the guy much thought until last year honestly. In scripture we only read about him briefly, but he is in all four gospels (Matthew 27:15–26; Mark 15:6–15; Luke 23:18–24; and John 18:40). Barabbas is described as a “notorious prisoner”, “a robber”, a murderer and one who had taken part in the insurrection. Not the most popular guy and not the best social resume. But then, out of the blue, the day before he is supposed to be put to death, some guy shows up called Jesus. Next thing you know, Barabbas is released and Jesus is sentenced to death.

Like I said, I never thought much about Barabbas before. He was a bad guy, a murderer, and so I just assumed he was subsequently ungrateful and unchanged about the whole situation. But wouldn’t that floor you a little if you were in his place? I mean, I’m sure Barabbas wasn’t denying the fact that he did bad things or that he was by all definition a bad person. Maybe he didn’t care about dying. But regardless, to wake up one morning thinking it will be your last day, and then to go to bed that same night as a free man – I would think that has to change you a bit (if not just utterly dumbfound you completely).

At Easter Family Fun Day last year, one of the stations families traveled to was to see Barabbas in prison. Now, as a disclaimer, I did not get to see this acted out, but just in hearing about that station it really got me thinking. Barabbas must have had some change of heart, or have been impacted in some manner after that night. After all, some random guy who did nothing wrong was going to be put to death in his place. Wouldn’t that change your life?

I’ll ask it again – wouldn’t that change your life? Has it? We are all Barabbas. We all got a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but at the expense of an innocent man. And not just any man – the Son of God; God himself! Shouldn’t that change everything about our lives – how we live each day, what we say and do, how we interact with other people?

Again, we don’t know how Barabbas acted once he was freed. If he had a Facebook account maybe he would have unfriended all the criminals he knew from his past. Maybe he would have posted a long monolog about what just happened. Maybe he would start posting pictures of new friends he met at church or share a new devotion each day from a book he started reading. But I bet he was a changed man.

Because that’s what Jesus does. He comes into our lives (sometimes from out of nowhere) and tells us we are free. We don’t deserve it. He died for us even though we are mean, nasty, horrible sinners. We deserve death. If we fully understand the magnitude of what he did for us – that we were facing death one morning and a free life that same evening – wouldn’t we tell everyone about what happened. We’d post it, tweet it, snapchat it, text it until we ran out of battery power. So are we?

My challenge to you, and myself, this Lenten and Easter season (and beyond), is to not take this freedom we have for granted. Don’t assume you have tomorrow, or ten more years even, to do what God is calling you to do. Freedom is a gift, and it was not free. So let us proclaim the Good News that we know and believe to be true, and let us do so like there’s no tomorrow!

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
– Laura Courtney