Read John 18:1-40.
Often, we may have a difficult time understanding grace, which is getting something for free that we do not deserve. Usually, when we get something for free, it has a catch. Sometimes we become suspicious when someone offers us a free gift. We are concerned that there will be strings attached if we accept that gift. True grace, however, has no strings attached. It is completely free. If it was not free or if there were strings attached to grace, then it would not actually be grace. Today, we are going to talk about the ultimate act of grace that we will ever receive: Jesus’ death on the cross so that He could purchase our salvation.
In John 18, Jesus went through a series of trials before different religious and political leaders of His day. He was on trial for claiming to be God. To claim to be God when you were not was a crime that warranted death. What the political and religious leaders did not realize, however, is that Jesus was actually God, so His claims were valid. Jesus was also accused of insurrection, uprising against the government. After going through these multiple trials, it was time for a decision to be made about if He was guilty and what His punishment would be if He were guilty. The governor, Pilate, did not find Jesus guilty, but He knew that the religious leaders wanted Jesus to be punished because their power was threatened by Him. During this time where the Jewish people were celebrating God’s faithfulness during a celebration called the Passover. It was custom during the Passover that one prisoner is released. Pilate offered three times to release Jesus, but the crowd continued to demand that he release Barabbas instead. Barabbas was a criminal who was in prison for murder and insurrection, uprising against the government. Ironically, Barabbas had actually committed the crime (insurrection) that Jesus, although innocent, had been accused of. Pilate eventually gave in to the demand of the crowd and released Barabbas instead of Jesus. In that moment, a guilty man walked away free while an innocent man was punished and ultimately sentenced to death.
When Barabbas walked away free, and Jesus was convicted of crimes He did not commit, a picture of what was to come occurred. You see, we are all like Barabbas. We all are guilty and have done things that go against God’s will for our lives. Yet Jesus took our place on the cross and paid for the crime He did not commit so that we could have the freedom of eternal life one day. What grace He has shown us!
In your notebook or journal, write out a definition of grace in your own words. Then, listen to the song Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman. As you listen, reflect on God’s great grace to you in sending Jesus to come to earth and die a criminal’s death so that you could have eternal life.
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