Thursday, 21 April 2011

' A substitute for another guy"

My church family have been reading though Mark's gospel in the lead up to Easter. Today's reading was from Mark 15. In this short exchange is encapsulated the significance of the cross of Christ.
 V6..Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews? asked Pilate,  knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews? Pilate asked them.
Crucify him! they shouted.
Why? What crime has he committed? asked Pilate. 
But they shouted all the louder, Crucify him! Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Substitution is actually built into the fabric of our lives. Soldiers giving their lives in the service of their country, mothers giving their lives in the act of childbirth, rescuers sacrificing their lives to save others.

However somewhat negatively in small and large ways a more unhappy sort of substitution is powerfully at work in all of us. Whether getting to the shortest que at the supermarket before the next person, pulling out in front of someone in my car, shifting blame away from myself and onto others, or bartering down a trader whose lifestyle may be far below mine-it's all about conveniencing myself at the expense of others.

At the heart of the Easter story is Jesus giving up his life for my sin. Dramatically inconveniencing himself so that I can know forgiveness, peace with God and a great hope for the future. The cross is indeed a many splendoured jewel, but substitution is at the heart of it.

' God put the wrong on him who never did any wrong, so we could be put right with God'   2 Corinthains 5.21 The Message
Post a Comment

The Long Walk

It's always a bit chancy to give someone a book. A little like recommending a restaurant. Will others like it? Will the service be as go...