‘Spring Lane Baptist

 April 2024

With Streams of  Living Water”

Jesus said “I am the Door”

Faith Matters

Nearly 2000 years ago, the city of Jerusalem was hosting what was arguably its most important annual feast – the Passover. Simultaneously, the occupying power, in the form of governor Pontius Pilate, planned to execute three criminals. Two were guilty of robbery and the third, whose name was Barabbas, had committed insurrection and murder.

Religious enthusiasm had been building up during the course of the previous week and a rabbi by the name of Jesus was causing consternation amongst the official Jewish leaders. It was becoming more and more apparent to the ordinary people that this teacher was more than simply an itinerant rabbi. His teaching, actions, indeed his very life were like a searchlight penetrating into the souls of men and women; like a fire that threatened to burn up all the dross of religious hypocrisy. His radical approach, which showed things as they really are, was often more welcomed by those who recognised their own neediness and didn’t have much to lose but was vehemently resisted by those who wanted to maintain the status quo. So it was, that the Jewish leaders used their clout to get Jesus put on trial as one who threatened the stability of the existing social order and might even cause rebellion against the Roman occupiers.

Now it had become the custom that at the time of Passover, the Roman governor would show clemency and release a condemned man. So determined were the religious leaders that they managed to get the governor to release Barabbas and replace him with Jesus.

The executions took place by crucifixion. The Bible tells us that one of those robbers, while hanging there, hurled insults at Jesus, ‘Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us.’ The other robber was contrite and confessed that he was getting his just desserts. Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And Jesus blessed him with complete assurance.

We too may choose to scoff and turn away from Jesus. Alternatively, we can turn towards him and acknowledge where we are at, then give him our heart’s trust. If we do the latter, we can anticipate assurance of God’s love. Then, similarly to Barabbas, we’ll go free from judgement as we discover that Jesus has suffered it in our place.

Stephen Richards


Faith Matters April 2024 (Easter)