Daily Encouragement Net Header
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home   About Us  Archives   Free email subscription   ListenListen to these messages
Print Text only for printing
  Bookmark and Share 

 See here for more info.

<Previous Message                                                    Next Message

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snowdrops flower (photo by GEM)
Snowdrop flowers
Photo taken by my cousin

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: This suggested 40 day reading plan began Sunday (April 3). If you want to participate and have not been following the reading schedule up to this point we suggest starting with today's reading and reading previous portions after this reading period ends. Here's the entire 40 day schedule. More information concerning the Scripture reading plan is below the daily message.

The links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device. 
  • Today's reading (April 19): John 15-19 beginning here.
  • Tomorrow's reading (April 20): John 20-Acts 4 beginning here.
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.


"Not this Man, but Barabbas" (John 18:40).

When I was a young Christian back in the seventies I was blessed by a song with the intriguing title, "I Should Have Been Crucified."  To this day, though I rarely hear the song anymore and am not a singer, I can easily recall the words.  It's got a great message about the Biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement. This doctrine asserts that Jesus Christ died as a substitute for sinners.

But only one person in history could sing "I Should Have Been Crucified" in a literal way. That person is Barabbas, the guilty one, who was released in exchange for Christ, the sinless One. Christ became a substitute, and willingly suffered the death penalty. Barabbas could rightly have said, "I should have been crucified."

The Scriptures tell us very little about Barabbas and nothing concerning what became of him following his brief appearance in the Gospels.  However each Gospel gives us a brief snippet concerning him.

Matthew tells us He was a "notorious prisoner" (Matthew 27:16).
Mark informs us that "Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified" (Mark 15:15).

Luke details that he had been involved in murder and sedition (Luke 23:19).

John reports he had taken part in a rebellion (John 18:40)

According to Roman law Barabbas deserved to die.
But he was released at the trial of Jesus, as the crowd clamored, "Not this Man, but Barabbas."
  • I wonder what Barabbas thought when he heard this?
  • What did this man think and what was he feeling as he witnessed Christ taking his place?  Since he was in the city it's not unreasonable to assume that he witnessed the crucifixion, or at least the events leading up to it.
  • What was the rest of his life like? 
  • Did he eventually turn to the Lord who had become his literal physical substitute on the cross?  A book written about him and later a movie speculate that he did turn to Christ in faith.
Bible teacher Donald Grey Barnhouse writes concerning Barabbas: "He was the only man in the world who could say that Jesus Christ took his physical place. But I can say that Jesus Christ took my spiritual place. For it was I who deserved to die. It was I who deserved that the wrath of God should be poured on me. I deserved the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. He was delivered up for my offenses. He was handed over to judgment because of my sins -- Christ was my substitute. He was satisfying the debt of divine justice and holiness. That is why I say that Christianity can be expressed in the three phrases: I deserved hell; Jesus took my hell; there is nothing left for me but His heaven."

In several ways Barabbas is a type of the redeemed through all the ages.
  • We, like Barabbas, are guilty: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
  • We, like Barabbas, justly deserve death: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
  • We, like Barabbas, are essentially passive as Jesus takes our place: There's no suggestion that Barabbas had anything at all to do with his release. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
That which was done to Jesus should have been done to Barabbas—and to each one of us.  We can all rightly declare, "I should have been crucified."  But Jesus God's Son took our place! Today, let us reaffirm our lifelong commitment to this marvelous Saviour.

Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Praying man Daily prayer: Jesus, thank You for dying in my place on the Cross! Just like Barrabas, I am the truly guilty and You are the sinless One who demonstrated Your own love for me in that You died for me while I was dead in my trespasses and sins.  Just as You were lifted up on the cross, and just as You were raised up from the dead, You  lifted the weight of sin from my heavy shoulders when I turned to You in forgiveness.  Not only did You pay off my sin debt but You also gave me the gift of eternal life.  I am amazed when I consider Your extraordinary  love for me.  Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. Amen.

Donald Grey BarnhouseI found this powerful nugget of additional insight on Barabbas in an article by James M. Boice, who in turn also quotes Donald Grey Barnhouse:

It was customary to free a prisoner at the time of the Feast of Passover. "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" Pilate asked the crowd (Matt. 27:21). "He was astonished when the people replied, "Barabbas!"

Barnhouse pictures Barabbas sitting in the prison, staring at his hands, which were soon to be pierced by nails, and shuddering at any sound of hammering that might remind him with horror of his own impending crucifixion. Suddenly he hears a crowd roaring outside the prison. There are angry voices. "Crucify him! Crucify him!" He thinks he hears his own name.

Then a jailer comes to unlock the door of his cell. Barabbas thinks that the time for his execution has come, but instead the jailer tells him that he is being set free. The crowd has called for his release. Jesus of Nazareth is to die instead.

Stunned, Barabbas joins the processional that is making its way to Calvary and watches as Jesus is crucified. He hears the sound of the hammer and knows that the blows that are fastening Jesus to the rough wooden cross were meant for him. He sees the cross lifted high into place and knows that he is the one who should be dying on it.

Jesus cries, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). The centurion who has commanded the execution party exclaims, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39).

Barabbas must have been saying, "That man took my place. I am the one who should have died. I am the condemned murderer. That man did nothing wrong. He is dying for me."

John Bucher and family
Yesterday we had a longtime reader stop by for a visit. John Bucher lives in our area and years ago came across our messages when his pastor passed one on to him and he signed up to receive them. We always find it interesting how our ministry grows. He came over with his daughter Ruth and son-in-law Jim, who pastors a church in Greensboro, North Carolina.

John has a wonderful bread making ministry as a means of reaching out to others and we were blessed yesterday by the loaves seen in the photo. He has been making bread for others for some twenty-five years and makes 36 loaves a week. That comes up to some 47,000 loaves of bread!!! We can testify that it was delicious as we enjoyed it with our meal last night. This morning Brooksyne toasted it and spread honeybutter with a little cinnamon on top!  It was "melt in your mouth" good.  Thanks, John!

John is a careful reader and periodically comments on a message.  He's also helpful in reporting broken links, such as last week when the podcast opened to a different message.

A special moment during our visit was when John asked me, "What message did you write on December 9, 2005?" Of course I couldn't recall that date so we looked it up together. It happened to be the message on the day his wife went to be with Jesus.  God knew what John had need of on concerning that most memorable day, and we're thankful that the Spirit moved upon us to write the message that ministered to his sorrowful heart. We're always heartened to hear from readers how God had just the right message they needed on a particular day - of course, we know that is not us, but the Spirit who is at work.

This is the movie made about we referred to in the message.
 We have this DVD and it certainly makes you think hard and long about the events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ and what happened to His loyal followers afterward.  Of course the Bible gives us the accurate record much more than the speculative thoughts of screenwriters, though the movie is based upon the actual characters of the Bible.

Barabbas (1961), DVDBarabbas (1961), DVD    By Provident Music Distribution
Two-time Academy Award winner Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance, and Ernest Borgnine star in this fictional story of Barabbas, the thief and murdered, Pontius Pilate freed in Jesus' place by the request of the people of Jerusalem. After watching his former lover being stoned to death for her faith, and haunted by the events of Jesus' crucifixion, Barabbas returns to his life of thievery. Would Barabbas find redemption this time? Not rated. Approx. 137 minutes.  

DVD Features:

  • Digitally Mastered Audio &amp; Anamorphic Video
  • Remastered in High Definition
  • Widescreen Presentation
  • English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese Subtitles
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Selections
  • Closed Captioned

  • Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

    "I Should Have Been Crucified"  Video   The Switzer Brothers

    I was guilty with nothing to say
    And they were coming to take me away
    But then a voice from Heaven was heard that said
    "Let Him go and take me instead"

    I should have been crucified
    I should have suffered and died
    I should have hung on the cross in disgrace
    But Jesus, God's Son, took my place

    VERSE 2
    Crowns of thorns, the spear deep in His side
    And those pains should have been mine
    Those rusty nails were meant for me
    Oh Jesus took them and let me go free

    "I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

    "At The Cross"  Video  
    Gaither Vocal Band

    Today's snowdrop flower photo was taken by my cousin who lives in Wisconsin. She posts her photos here.

    Major Events of the Passion Week

    Holy or Passion Week is so named because it chronicles the events leading up to the Lord's death and resurrection. Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week and consider these events. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and I am inspired as I read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter. Note: The precise days these events occurred cannot be determined with certainty. Earnest Christians have various views as to the day Christ died, some believing it would have been on Wednesday or Thursday rather than Friday. However we feel the basic outline is still helpful.

    I enjoy math although I'm not very good at it beyond the basics needed to get by in life (such as preparing my taxes!) Consider this: The four gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. But almost all of this material deals with just the 3½ year period of His earthly ministry. However, an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels cover the period beginning with Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances.  Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life!  In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God's greatest act of love and mercy in providing our redemption.

    • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
    • Jesus Clears the Temple: Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46
    • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
    • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Matthew 21:28-23:36; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47   
    • Greeks ask to see Jesus: John 12:20-26
    • The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38
    •  Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
    • The Last Supper: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
    • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  John 13-17
    • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
    • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
    • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Matthew 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25; John 18:13-19:16
    • Jesus is crucified and buried: Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
    • The glorious resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
    (This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

    40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

    "You've Got The Time" Bible reading planOn Sunday April 3 we began a forty day program of reading through the New Testament and we encourage Daily Encouragement Net readers to consider joining in as we read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. (At this point we suggest starting at the reading for the current day and then reading the portions you hadn't read when the 40 day period is over.)

    These readings take about 30 minutes per day. Prior to each message we will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day and for the next day. (and several links for the weekend daily readings).

    The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day (or, on Mondays this may also be from a Scripture portion read over the weekend.)

    Here is a page where you can download the entire Bible to your computer in a variety of versions.

    Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)

    Here's a schedule for the entire 40 day reading period along with discussion questions. This is especially suitable to bookmark during this period as it contains links that will open directly to the passage to be read for the day.

    "Proclaimer" Bible listening deviceThe reading links open to Bible.is, an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For those who may prefer the KJV it is available. For international readers there may even be a version available in your native language. Just click the small tab directly below the Bible.is logo on the top left to see available versions. 

    This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.

    Daily Encouragement on Facebook Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.

    Tortured For His FaithFree "Tortured For His Faith" We would highly recommend this book which is available to Daily Encouragement readers for the month of April free of chargeIt is tremendously inspiring and will stir you to faithfulness in the face of persecution.  It will also create a greater hunger for the Bible as a result of reading it.  Merely go to this page and fill out the form on the lower part of the page. Indicate that you are a daily encouragement reader and request the book in the comment box. (Don't forget to include your mailing address.)

    Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

    Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.

    Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.

    Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
    1) Open the basic text editor that comes with all computers (known as wordpad, textpad, etc.)  You can also use a program like Word and select paste text only.
    2) Select and copy the text from the portion of the message you want to print.
    3) Paste into the text pad. (The photos won't show up but you will have a brief text description of the photo which you can delete or just ignore.)
    4) Format if you desire (change font, increase or decrease size, etc.)
    5) Print!

    Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

    Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

    Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com 
    © Copyright 2011 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
    Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552  USA

    Contact us

    This device counts unique visitors by nation and state. I installed the international version in mid April 2010 and the state version later. They thus register unique visitors to since then.
    free counters

    Free counters!

    "Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"