Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Meditation: Treacherous Son of God - Beloved Son of God

If you've seen films like The Passion of the Christ, you'll have met Barabbas portrayed as something of a mad character. Symbolically and theologically, this is probably appropriate, but on the day to day surface of things, if you're going to be prominently involved in any kind of credible insurrection against the Romans, you need to have some (worldly) marbles.

So consider him a moment and his brief meeting with Jesus.

He is a murderer (Mk.15:7) and a robber (Jn.18:40), clearly guilty of all with which they have charged him (Mt.27:16).

But here's the thing, (I never noticed it until recently), his name means "Son of the Father." Moreover, if Wikipedia is to be believed, his first name was Jesus (a commonly occurring name in those days, much like John or Matthew is to us).

So Pilate presents two Jesus' to the crowd that first Good Friday morning - both a "son of the Father." The difference being that one is a treacherous son, the other a righteous son. The first is a counterfeit son, the second the true son. The first is guilty of insurrection, robbery and murder, the second is totally obedient, self-giving and brimming with life.

The first is like his father Adam - who was a son of God (Lk.3:38), but committed insurrection against God, robbing the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and single-handedly murdering the whole human race by bringing death into the world.

The second is like his Father - God - bringing order out of disorder, life out of death, joy out of sorrow. In short reversing the curse of the first treacherous son.

The sad thing is that when presented with these two saviour figures - the people plumb for the counterfeit, quick fix saviour - Barabbas. They aren't bothered about fellowship with God and the renewal of creation, they just want (I would guess) rid of the Romans and a return to the glory days of the old Davidic dynasty.

See here how the good news of God is summed up so simply, how the righteous God-man suffers in the place of a treacherous humanity: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God (1Pet.3:18).

But it doesn't stop at God finding a way to tolerate humans who have betrayed him, its goes further to find us a place as dearly loved children in the family of God. For on resurrection morning Jesus says to Mary Magdalene that he is returning to his Father and her Father, his God and her God (Jn.20:17)

Through the power of God at the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, treacherous, mad and wicked people like you and me, can become the beloved children of the Father. If only we would humble ourselves before him and receive...

1 comment:

jethro said...

Good food for thought.