Grace is like that!
By Ysrael De la Cruz
If you have been in church for a while, you have heard the word “grace” in songs, sermons, meditations and so forth. One of the most quoted Bible verses about grace is Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one may boast.
Grace is God’s gift to us. The word ‘grace’ literally means unmerited favor or kindness. Grace is to get something you don’t deserve. To show kindness to someone who doesn’t deserve it. To do a favor for someone who does not deserve it.
Sometimes we come across people who deep inside we think there is no way God could love or forgive someone like him or her. Such thinking shows a lack of understanding of what grace is about.
It is my prayer that today’s message would give you a better understanding of God’s grace. During the time of Jesus, the Romans had captured a man who had revolted against the system and committed murder. He was in jail waiting his execution. The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us about this man, his name was Barabbas. (Matt.27:15-26; Mk15:6-15; Luke 23:18-24; John 18:40).
You don’t hear anywhere else in the Bible about this man, but for a moment, his life intersected the life of Jesus.
The text tells us that the reason he was in jail was for murder in the insurrection (rebellion); John calls him a robber. He would be killed by crucifixion.
The day they called Barabbas out of his cell, he must have thought his end was near. The governor Puntius Pilate would grant pardon to a prisoner during the feast of Unleavened bread. Jesus was being interrogated by Pilate and he found no crime in him and merited death or imprisonment. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. The chief priests stirred up the crowd to rally in favor of releasing Barabbas and condemning Jesus.
Barabbas did not believe in Jesus and did not even know who he was. He probably thought Jesus must have done something worst that the crowd rejected him.
Barabbas’ life change in an instant; just because his life intersected the life of Jesus. It was this moment that granted Barabbas his freedom, his life. Grace is like that.
He went from a being a prisoner to becoming a free man. From a dead man to being alive. He was given something he did not deserve. Grace is like that!
Like Barabbas, we all were heading to destruction; we were imprisoned by sin. Sin makes us enemies of God and deserving of his punishment. However, Jesus changed our condition as well. From being enemies of God to being children of God. From being dead to being alive. From being prisoners of sin and death to being redeemed by his blood. Grace is like that.
This story reminds me what the prophet Isaiah predicted seven hundred years before Jesus. Isa.53:3-6
Jesus took our place; he was condemned so you and I can be free. He died, so you can have life. He truly bought our freedom and our lives, even when we were dead in our sins. Grace is like that.
God demonstrated his own love for us in this while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Grace is like that.