A devotional thought from Afshin Ziafat for “Justification”
Luke 23:18,24-25: “Then they all cried out together, ‘Take this man away! Release Barabbas to us!’…So Pilate decided to grant their demand and released the one they were asking for, who had been thrown into prison for rebellion and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.”
Two men stood before Pilate and the crowd of witnesses. One was a criminal named Barabbas. He was a murderer and deserving of the death sentence. The other was Jesus, the sinless King of the world. There was a custom that a criminal could be released to the Jews during the Passover. The people selected Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified.
Picture yourself in the shoes of Barabbas. There is no escaping your guilt and the judgment you deserve. Standing next to you is the good and perfect King Jesus. One of you will die; one of you will walk. Surely the people will select Jesus to be released. You are facing certain death! But in the most surprising twist of your life, you are released as you watch Jesus led away to carry the cross He will hang on.
This week we will study the amazing truth of the gospel—we are saved by grace through faith alone. We are all sinners deserving of eternal punishment before a holy God. But God has opened a way for us to be set free from this judgment because of the sinless Savior, Jesus, who bears the punishment of our sins on the cross. This salvation is a gift to be received by faith.
Pause and Reflect
• How would it feel to walk away free from a death sentence you knew you deserved?
• More specifically, how would you feel toward the innocent one who took the death sentence that you deserved in order that you would no longer bear the punishment?