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The Wednesday Word: Barabbas and the Gospel

December 5, 2018 6 comments

And so Pilate, … released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, … to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).

Pilate freed Barabbas, the felon, and sent Jesus to the cross.

Pilate, as you remember, had no love for Barabbas, but wanted to save Jesus. So, he hit on the idea of offering the people a choice between the two men. It was customary to free a prisoner at the time of the Feast of Passover; so, Pilate asked the crowd, “Which of the two do you want me to release?” (Matthew 27:21-22).

He was astonished when the people enthusiastically called out, “Barabbas!”

Who was Barabbas?

To the Romans, Barabbas was a terrorist who had committed murder during a rebellion (Mark 15:7). John adds that Barabbas was also a robber (John 18:40).

The name Barabbas is interesting. It means “son of the father.” Some suggest that it means son of a Rabbi. If so, Barabbas was a preacher’s kid! … and so was John Wesley Hardin…one of the most notorious killers of the Wild West.

Barabbas had been condemned to die. He was a rebel against the law, a robber and a murderer. And now the outraged law had apprehended him and he’s on Death Row.

BTW,…everyone reading this who has not come to Christ as a hell-deserving sinner looking for mercy is sitting on death row. You are not on probation but under damnation.

Suddenly, people were calling his name, “Barabbas! Barabbas!” The next thing he heard was a crowd yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Perhaps, he thinks it’s a lynch mob. He’s terrified. Then, he hears the prison door slowly opening and a bewildered guard said, “Barabbas! There’s a man named Jesus who is going to die in your place. He is going to be nailed to your cross. You are free to go.

As Barabbas emerged from the jail, the crowd was surging toward Calvary. And legend has it that Barabbas followed them. Think of it, he hears the hammer and knows that the blows that are fastening Jesus to the cross were meant for him. He knows that, quite literally, he, Barabbas, is the one who should be executed.

Barabbas, as he looked at Jesus on the cross, must have received a clear understanding of the Gospel. He must have thought,

“That man took my place.

I am the one who should have died.

I am the condemned murderer.

That man did nothing wrong.

He is dying instead of me.”

Barabbas sees Christ upon his cross. After that, he had no need to go to seminary to understand the Doctrine of Substitution.

Barabbas knew that he was a guilty, worthless wretch, under the condemnation of the law.

Barabbas saw the meaning of the cross. Jesus was actually dying in his place. Barabbas would have known that he had done nothing whatever to deserve Christ dying in his place. He knew that Christ’s death for Him was an act of pure, undeserved grace.

Because of the cross, Barabbas was free from the penalty of the Law. Suppose a soldier had recognized Barabbas and tried to arrest him. He legally could not have done it! Barabbas was a free man. The substitute had died in his place.

All Barabbas would have needed to say was ‘Jesus has died for me.’ Likewise, when the Law points its condemning finger and says we’re guilty…we point toward Jesus and say…He died for me….and I am free!

Remember this, if sin speaks louder in our conscience than Christ, it is because we have taken our eyes off the Gospel.

To be frank, I’ve never liked Barabbas. I wanted the crowd to yell,

“Release Jesus!”

“Crucify Barabbas!”

But instead, they roared for the opposite.

Barabbas, a villain, was set free and Jesus took his place. I hate that.

But, when I look inside myself I realize I am Barabbas. I’m in the same shoes. And you are Barabbas, too. We’re the guilty ones. We’re the scoundrels, but we go free because Jesus died in our place.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Thank you Jesus for the Blood

Many people continually worry about whether or not they are doing okay spiritually. They ask themselves,

“Have I been good enough?”

“Have I read the Bible enough?”

“Have I witnessed enough?”

“Have I prayed enough?”

“Have I given enough?”

Let’s be honest; the answer to these questions is probably ‘no.’

But here’s the Good News. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, His Blood took care of all our sins. Not just the bad sins but the Father put all our sins on Christ, the God/Man. We don’t, therefore, need to always be ducking and diving away from God. Our accounts are fully and finally settled.

The Blood of the cross has completely blotted out and cleansed our sins. As the prophet Micah said, they have been cast into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19). The Father has already blessed us in Christ for “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8).

The Father doesn’t see the sins that we commit. Why? Because of the Blood. We are in Christ. He sees only the Finished Work.

But what happens if we sin? And we do sin … so, what happens? What happens is this, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1-2). But what if a person knows that God will not impute sin to them yet they stubbornly continue in known sin?

The first consequence is that he grieves His friend, the Holy Spirit.

The second consequence is that he breaks his fellowship with God. However, because of the blood, although the sin breaks fellowship with, it doesn’t change his relationship to the Father. Willful, deliberate sin brings chastisement, but it is a loving and gracious chastisement. There is no wrath in the Father’s discipline. His wrath was exhausted on Calvary for the Elect.

Nevertheless, let’s never forget that God hates sin. He is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). This is a shocking truth which exposes our lostness outside of Christ. There is no way for us to be accepted in heaven unless the Father sees us as completely perfect. But here’s the genius of the matter, when Jesus Christ went to heaven, He took us with Him, and seated us there with Himself as justified, righteous and perfect believers (Ephesians 2:6).

Now, as we begin to apply Gospel truth, we realize that the Father can never again see us in sin. We are cleansed by the blood and seated (perfect tense) with Christ in heavenly places. It is a finished work, and we are hidden with Christ in God in heaven. Never again will He impute sin to us. We are ransomed by the Blood and saved for time and eternity.

The Blood has redeemed us. The blood has bought and purchased us (Titus 2:14; Mark 10:45). The blood has paid for us in full (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Now, the Father only sees the Son, and as He sees the Son, He beholds every believer. Why is this?

It’s because the Lord Jesus, the God/Man, has graciously hidden us in Himself (Colossians 3:3).

Because of redemption, we are now members of His body (Ephesians 5:30). He, therefore, sees no flaw in us (Song of Solomon 4:7).

Because of righteous grace, He sees us without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27).

Because of the Finished Work, we are in Him by the purchase of the Blood.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The poor man who lay on my dunghill, and the dogs licked his sores; there he is in heaven, while I am cast down

But to conclude. Methinks I see thee in some place in hell, tied to a rock, the vulture of remorse knowing thy heart; and up there is Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, You lift up your eyes and you see who it is. “That is the poor man who lay on my dunghill, and the dogs licked his sores; there he is in heaven, while I am cast down. Lazarus-yes, it is Lazarus; and I who was rich in the world of time am here in hell. Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue.” But no! It cannot be; it cannot be. And whilst you lie there if there be one thing in hell worse than another, it will be seeing the saints in heaven. Oh, to think of seeing my mother in heaven while I am cast out! Oh, sinner, only think, to see thy brother in heaven-he who was rocked in the selfsame cradle, and played beneath the same roof-tree-yet thou art cast out. And, husband, there is thy wife in heaven, and thou art amongst the damned, And seest thou, father! thy child is before the throne; and thou! accursed of God and accursed of man, art in hell. Oh, the hell of hells will be to see our friends in heaven, and ourselves lost. I beseech you, my hearers, by the death of Christ- by his agony and bloody sweat-by his cross and passion-by all that is holy- by all that is sacred in heaven and earth-by all that is solemn in time or eternity -by all that is horrible in hell, or glorious in heaven-by that awful thought, “for ever,”-I beseech you lay these things to heart, and remember that if you are damned, it will be unbelief that damns you. If you are lost, it will be because ye believed not on Christ; and if you perish, this shall be the bitterest drop of gall-that ye did not trust in the Savior.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Sin of Unbelief” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

It is not the wrath now you have to fear, but the wrath to come- and there shall be a doom to come

But, sirs, the worst fulfillment of this doom is to come! Good Whitfield used sometimes to lift up both his hands and shout, as I wish I could shout, but my voice fails me. “The wrath to come! the wrath to come!” It is not the wrath now you have to fear, but the wrath to come- and there shall be a doom to come, when “ye shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat thereof.” Methinks I see the last great day. The last hour of time has struck. I heard the bell toll its death knell-time was, eternity is ushered in; the sea is boiling; the waves are lit up with supernatural splendor. I see a rainbow-a flying cloud, and on it there is a throne, and on that throne sits one like unto the Son of Man. I know him. In his hand he holds a pair of balances; just before him the books,-the book of life, the book of death, the book of remembrance. I see his splendor and I rejoice at it; I behold his pompous appearance, and I smile with gladness that he is come to be “admired of all his saints.” But there stands a throng of miserable wretches, crouching in horror to conceal themselves, and yet looking for their eyes must look on him whom they have pierced; but when they look they cry, “Hide me from the face.” What face? “Rocks, hide me from the face.” What face? “The face of Jesus, the man who died, but now is come to judgment.” But ye cannot be hidden from his face; ye must see it with your eyes: but ye will not sit on the right hand, dressed in robes of grandeurand when the triumphal procession of Jesus in the clouds shall come, ye shall not march in it; ye shall see it, but ye shall not be there. Oh! Methinks I see it now, the mighty Savior in his chariot, riding on the rainbow to heaven, See how his mighty coursers make the sky rattle while he drives them up heaven’s hill. A train girt in white follow behind him, and at his chariot wheels he drags the devil, death, and hell. Hark, how they clap their hands. Hark, how they shout. “Thou hast ascended up on high- thou hast led captivity captive.” Hark, how they chaunt the solemn lay, “Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” See the splendor of their appearance; mark the crown upon their brows; see their snow-white garments; mark the rapture of their countenances; hear how their song swells up to heaven while the Eternal joins therein, saying, “I will rejoice over them with joy, I will rejoice over them with singing, for I have betrothed thee unto me in everlasting lovingkindness.” But where are you all the while? Ye can see them up there but where are you? Looking at it with your eyes, but you cannot eat thereof. The marriage banquet is spread; the good old wines of eternity are broached; they sit down to the feast of the king; but there are you, miserable, and famishing, and ye cannot eat thereof. Oh! how ye wring your hands. Might ye but have one morsel from the table-might ye but be dogs beneath the table. You shall be a dog in hell, but not a dog in heaven.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Sin of Unbelief” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

Let me apply this chiefly to the unconverted

But, let me apply this chiefly to the unconverted. They often see great works of God done with their eyes, but they do not eat thereof. A crowd of people have come here this morning to see with their eyes, but I doubt whether all of them eat. Men cannot eat with their eyes, for if they could, most would be well fed. And, spiritually, persons cannot feed simply with their ears, nor simply with looking at the preacher; and so we find the majority of our congregations come just to see; “Ah, let us hear what this babbler would say, this reed shaken in the wind.” But they have no faith; they come, and they see, and see, and see, and never eat. There is someone in the front there, who gets converted; and some one down below, who is called by sovereign grace- some poor sinner is weeping under a sense of his blood guiltiness, another is crying for mercy to God: and another is saying, “Have mercy upon me, a sinner.” A great work is going on in this chapel, but some of you do not know anything about it; you have no work going on in your hearts, and why? Because ye think it is impossible; ye think God is not at work. He has not promised to work for you who do not honor him. Unbelief makes you sit here in times of revival and of the outpouring of God’s grace, unmoved, uncalled, unsaved.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Sin of Unbelief” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

This brings us now to conclude with the PUNISHMENT

II. This brings us now to conclude with the PUNISHMENT. “Thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” Listen unbelievers! ye have heard this morning your sin, now listen to your doom: “Ye shall see it with your eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” It is so often with God’s own saints. When they are unbelieving, they see the mercy with their eyes, but do not eat it. Now, there is corn in this land of Egypt; but there are some of God’s saints who come here on the Sabbath, and say, “I do not know whether the Lord will be with me or not.” Some of them say, “Well, the gospel is preached, but I do not know whether it will be successful.” They are always doubting and fearing. Listen to them when they get out of the chapel. “Well, did you get a good meal this morning?” “Nothing for me.” Of course not. Ye could see it with your eyes, but did not eat it, because you had no faith. If you had come up with faith, you would have had a morsel. I have found Christians, who have grown so very critical, that if the whole portion of the meat they are to have, in due season, is not cut up exactly into square pieces, and put upon some choice dish of porcelain they cannot eat it. Then they ought to go without; and they will have to go without, until they are brought to their appetites. They will have some affliction, which will act like quinine upon them: they will be made to eat by means of bitters in their mouths; they will be put in prison for a day or two until their appetite returns, and then they will be glad to eat the most ordinary food, off the most common platter, or no platter at all. But the real reason why God’s people do not feed under a gospel ministry, is because they have not faith. If you believed, if you did but hear one promise that would be enough; if you only heard one good thing from the pulpit, here would be food for your soul, for it is not the quantity we hear, but the quantity we believe, that does us good-it is that which we receive into our hearts with true and lively faith, that is our profit.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Sin of Unbelief” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

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Unbelief is the damning sin

5. And now to close this point — for I have been already too long — let me remark that you will observe the heinous nature of unbelief in this — that it is the damning sin. There is one sin for which Christ never died; it is the sin against the Holy Ghost. There is one other sin for which Christ never made atonement. Mention every crime in the calendar of evil, and I will show you persons who have found forgiveness for it. But ask me whether the man who died in unbelief can be saved, and I reply there is no atonement for that man. There is an atonement made for the unbelief of a Christian, because it is temporary, but the final unbelief-the unbelief with which men die-never was atoned for. You may turn over this whole Book, and you will find that there is no atonement for the man who died in unbelief; there is no mercy for him. Had he been guilty of every other sin; he had but believed, he would have been pardoned; but this is the damning exception- he had no faith. Devils seize him! O fiends of the pit, drag him downward to his doom! He is faithless and unbelieving, and such are the tenants for whom hell was built. It is their portion, their prison, they are the chief prisoners, the fetters are marked with their names, and for ever shall they know that, “he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Sin of Unbelief” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

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