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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
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.
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"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."
In several ways Barabbas is a type of the redeemed through all the ages.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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.
I 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 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), DVD By Provident Music Distribution
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
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.
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)
40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening 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.
The 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.
Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.
"Tortured For His Faith" We would highly recommend this book which is available to Daily Encouragement readers for the month of April free of charge! It 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.)
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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."
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