Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baptism

This past Sunday night was C4 Charlotte's 2nd baptism service. A number of people were baptized and it was wonderful to see these people make a public declaration of their faith. Tyson opened the service by talking about before Jesus was crucified...when the people chose Barabbas. 
Matthew 27: 25-26 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream." Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!" And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves." And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!" Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
 For a moment...place yourself in that crowd. Imagine that you are making that choice. You might be saying to yourself, "Oh, I would never choose the most notorious criminal over a man who lived a perfect life." But stop. Every time we choose sin...every time we choose our own way, every time we give in to our addictions...we choose to release Barabbas and send Jesus to the cross. Every time we sin we are releasing calamity and chaos into our lives.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The wages of our sin...the penalty for our sin...it's death. When we choose sin, we release death into our lives. When Adam and Eve sinned, they released death into the human world. I had a nerd moment when I was thinking about this...I think I've been spending way too much time doing math...but it kind of helped me think about it.
Sin = Death
Death = Hell
Therefore: Sin = Hell
Sorry if that doesn't make any sense to you...What I was trying to get at is that ultimately the wages of sin is hell.

So what do you choose? Seems like a simple question and it seems easy to choose the right response...but it's what happens in that moment that matters. We choose Barabbas time after time. We fall into habits and go back to our old ways. We think it's okay because there isn't always an immediate consequence. The problem is that the consequence for our sin may not be immediate but it is eternal.

Thankfully we have a God who loves us enough to send his son to take our place so that we don't have to suffer the consequences that our sin deserves. Death has no hold because of Jesus.

Barabbas was the worst criminal you could imagine. He was every bad thing you could think of...a murderer, a rapist, a thief, a liar...all balled up into one human being. He deserved the worst punishment imaginable...but Jesus was the one crucified. Jesus became Barabbas...he became sin...so that all the punishment that we deserve...that Barabbas deserved...was directed at him and not at us.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The debt that we owe for our sin was so huge that we could never even begin to repay it. Jesus paid it for us...in full. Don't let your past sins, your shame, your reputation or your guilt overshadow your future. Don't let it keep you from coming. Don't think that you have to go change everything before you can come to God. Remember that HE is the one who makes all things new. Don't wait...we are not promised tomorrow. Don't put it off. He died and he lives for you!

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