Passion Week Meditations IV

“…that saved a wretch like me.”

 I was born this way.

My life was essentially over before it started. My father wasn’t there for me. My name, Barabbas, means son of the father. Funny, huh. My mother was raising a pack of kids. The third of seven, I was lost in the midst of the chaos and made my own way. Determined to never be hurt again, I set out to blaze a trail of my own. I would march to my own beat, and no one else’s. Ever.

I would be my father’s son.

I became known as a hellion. I led a band of marauders. I took an unusual amount of pleasure at the expense of other’s pain. I delighted in division. I reveled in revelry. I lived by the laws of lawlessness. You didn’t want to cross my path.

Eventually my past caught up to my present. It was time. I was guilty of all I was charged, and then some. I deserved my certain sentence of death.

I had become my father’s son.

Now it was the time of the Passover Feast. The governor had a tradition to release a prisoner of the people’s choosing. Some lucky guy is going to walk out a free man, I thought to myself. I wonder who it will be.

Suddenly there was a tremendous amount of commotion. Pushing, shoving and grabbing. I was being led out to Pilate’s courtyard, along with the one known as Jesus. It quickly became clear to my what Pilate’s intentions were: give the Jews a pretty easy choice as to who to “pass over”…a career criminal or the miracle worker?  What a joke, I thought. This won’t take long.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Apparently the human commitment to the status quo is a stronger drive than the desire for righteousness. In a strange twist of irony, the guilty one was set free. As the guards released me from my chains, I glanced incredulously at the one who would take my place. Was that a wink from his eye, and a knowing smile that crossed his face. Did he know all along?

I ran as fast as I could to get away from the crowd of insurrectionists. Oh the irony. Yet, I could not forget this man. I circled back around as they dragged him to Golgotha. My eyes could not leave him. And he uttered these words, “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.”

Yes! That’s me! I don’t know what I am doing. Or what I have done. That day I determined to receive what Jesus was offering.

And on that day, I became my Father’s son.