Today’s thought is shared by Carren Marvin…
“But the whole crowd shouted, ‘Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!’ . . . So Pilate decided to grant their demand” (Luke 23:18 & 24)
Recently I re-read the Gospel of Luke and found myself pausing after this very familiar passage, where a bloodthirsty crowd of fickle Jews are demanding that Jesus be crucified and Barabbas—a man with heinous guilt to his name—released. Somehow I found myself screaming inside for release, too. Release of anything that would take this ball of anger I’ve been carrying around and turn it into tangible justice. I saw myself in this passage, and I felt uncomfortable.
The Jews had had a choice. They could have a rebel-rousing murderer among them again, or they could have a compassionate, life-giving savior. It occurred to me that I have a choice, too. Who do I want to be released in my heart? Am I hungry to see revenge and punishment? Or is my hunger for the peace and mercy of Jesus Christ? I pray for release, but maybe I haven’t stopped screaming for Barabbas yet.
This reflection prompted me to pray differently about the anger I have been struggling with. Instead of begging God to release me from it, I tried praying that God would release the Holy Spirit. This brought me back to the decision that is ultimately mine: Whose presence do I want reigning in my heart?
Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me that I can choose differently when I feel angry and powerless to control. When the situation is screaming in my face, demanding that I choose, help me to choose the release of your Holy Spirit instead of the release of my own carnal ways. Amen.