The trial and condemnation of Jesus Christ are not unfamiliar topics in Sunday School, but today I was particularly touched by some symbolism in the story. When the Roman leaders asked who they should free (according to the Jewish custom), Jesus or Barrabas, they chose the murderer. Perhaps they were so desperate to do anything they could to do away with the man they viewed as a threat, but today, I thought about the fact that they chose someone who sought to steal physical life. Jesus came to grant everyone freedom from physical death, and not only that but freedom we can’t even begin to imagine, spiritual freedom and exaltation with Him.
He came not just for His disciples, and for those who faithfully followed Him, He came to offer everyone the gift of resurrection. Yes, even those who cheered for His gruesome demise.
I wondered how many times all of us choose paths that lead to things that gradually steer us away from the path of discipleship, and even habits and vices that destroy our lives and others. Why would we do that when the other choice is to follow the Prince of Peace and attain true freedom for our souls? Because we are mortal, and we let ourselves be led away by that liar and captor we call Satan. He tells us he offers more freedom if we just “do what makes us happy” and “what we deserve”.
Interesting though how much light and joy our souls experience and the increased ability to love and bless the lives of others when we follow in the strict paths of our Savior. He truly wants our happiness, not to steal it, but to let it soar. I am in absolute awe of this gift, this opportunity to be more than I could ever hope to be without Him. He will not force us to follow Him, but in so many of His creations and kindnesses of His servants, He calls to us with a quiet, gentle voice, pleading, “Follow me and I will bring rest to your soul.”