By Mike Clarensau
Devotional Scripture: Matthew 27:21-22
Central Thought: The choice of our own path leads us to deception.
He was a killer, a vicious criminal, and a man who would take what he wanted and destroy whatever got in his way—and they wanted him. It's hard to imagine the demented logic that caused that ancient crowd to prefer Barabbas to Jesus, the miracle-working teacher of love. But Barabbas was their choice.
Then again, maybe their choice makes some sense. After all, for generations man has pursued his agenda through his own strength. The charismatic leader that can command others is usually who we pick to lead us. Men of determination who promise what we want find us willing accomplices in their selfish aims. Barabbas didn't even have to be a con man. On that day in sweltering Jerusalem, humanity conned itself.
Everything Jesus taught contradicted the logic of His day. His humility belied a strength of character and hid His tight control on the destiny of God's plan. The Messiah for whom they had waited showed up like a sheep led to slaughter. They wanted power to overthrow their oppressors, and perhaps in Barabbas they found the one who looked the part. But he lacked the power.
Instead, the One they rejected possessed their true answer. The One whose back they mutilated possessed the power of the universe. He didn't open His mouth, but in silent strength He endured their hostile hypocrisy and forgave them for sins they would not acknowledge.
We know the whole story now, or at least more than they, but we are often tempted to follow the same imposter. Barabbas makes himself available to us too. However, only a few see the emptiness of his eyes and the hopelessness he leaves for those who choose him. Who or what is your Barabbas, your imposter? May we seek God's wisdom to avoid the path of deception.
Devotional Prayer: Lord, protect me from my own wisdom. Help me to see You and Your ways, even when they differ from my expectations. I want to walk in truth—Your everlasting truth.
Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 34:1-35:9; Matthew 27:15-31; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 9:1-6