Thursday, March 6, 2014
THE FIRST BENEFICIARIES OF BLACK FRIDAY
Black Friday, Internet Domain
As we start the season of Lent and move toward holy week, Good Friday looms ahead prior to Easter Sunday. I prefer to use the alternative name for that day which occurred over two thousand years ago as Black Friday. The sun stopped shining and darkness came over the whole land for three hours in the middle of that day as all nature mourned the impending death of its Creator. For the first time in all creation, the Father was temporarily separated from relationship with the Son. The temple curtain was torn apart in that hour. The curtain symbolically separated the court of the people and the Most Holy Place where only the high priest could enter once a year to atone for the sins of the people. Now, Jesus’ death removed the barrier between human beings and God so that His sacrifice could pave the way for the atonement of all sins and the promise of eternal life through the grace of God.
Just before Jesus was condemned to death on a Roman cross, however, a man named Barabbas had also been condemned to death. It was a Passover custom for the Roman ruler to pardon one prisoner. Barabbas had been convicted as a revolutionary insurgent and murderer. Interestingly, he was guilty of the same false charge against Jesus. Finding no fault with Jesus, Pilate offered the riotous crowd either Jesus or Barabbas to be set free; assuming they would chose the obvious guilty man. But Barabbas was spared certain death on that day and given new life while Jesus was sent to the cross in his place.
The names of many Jewish men of the day were derived from their father’s name. Interestingly, Bar means “son of” and Abba means “father”. Barabbas could be the son of any father--you or me. Jesus was crucified with two condemned men also dying on either side of him. One hurled insults but the other recognized His divinity and pleaded for him to "remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus answered him; "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise". Only this one man was able to see beyond the seeming devastation of the cross to the triumph of the eternal Kingdom of God. As he breathed his last on the cross, Jesus softly spoke, “Father (Abba), into your hands I commit my spirit”.
We are all sons and daughters of our eternal Abba and after the events of Black Friday, we are all now the beneficiaries of His priceless grace. Grace means there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more and nothing we can do to make Him love us less. We only have to look to the cross to understand the full measure of His love. The condemned Barabbas was given a pardon for a second chance at mortal life, but the unknown dying man on Calvary received a last minute reprieve for eternal life!