Somebody Died for You
By Oswald J. Smith
It was night. Another day had gone, and all was still. But what matter…it was always night in the cold, clammy dungeon where Barabbas lay. The sun now and then did manage to penetrate the inky blackness that ever reigned beneath the surface of the ground, but even then it could not be called light; it was only less dark. Yet there was a difference for this murderer, who awaited the execution of his awful sentence. It was the last night on earth for him; well he knew it. His career was ended; his last crime committed.
Back in the darkest corner he crouched, deep in thought. A few more hours and all would be over. Ah, but would it? In the morning he would hear the footfall of the death warden as he came down the corridor. Then for a moment the footsteps would cease as the warden paused before the door of Barabbas’s dungeon. The great key would clank in the lock, the bolt fly back, and the heavy door swing slowly open. And then Barabbas would be dragged out, be led to the fatal spot, and be nailed to the cross. For hours, it might be, he would suffer excruciating agony, exposed to the public gaze of an indifferent populace; for he must pay the penalty for his crimes.
In the morning he did hear the steps of the jailer coming along the corridor. The key was placed in the lock. The bolt did fly back, and in another moment the great door was opened. And Barabbas still crouched in the darkest corner as before. But that was as far as his surmises of the night realized!
“Barabbas, have you heard the good news?” It was the warden’s voice, jubilant and strong.
“What good news?” responded the condemned man in a bitter tone. “All I know is that this is the day of my execution, and that you have come to lead me out to be crucified for my crimes.” And he shrank farther back against the cold, wet wall.
“Ah! But you don’t know,” replied the warden in the same triumphant tone. “Listen, Barabbas, somebody died for you!”
“Somebody died for me! What do you mean?”
“Come with me, and I will show you, Barabbas.”
Through the door, along the corridor, past numerous cells, into the street, and beyond the wall of Jerusalem they made their way, the jailer forging ahead, hurrying his dazed prisoner along. At last they paused.
“Do you see yonder cross?” he declared, placing his hand on the shoulder of the other, and pointing to a hill some distance away.
The condemned man looked, but it was a few moments before he could comprehend the scene before him, so unaccustomed were his eyes to the light of day. But at last he saw and spoke.
“Yes, I see. There are three, are there not?”
“But do you see the center one?”
“Well, Barabbas, that center cross was made for you, and you were to have died on it this morning.”
Slowly the light dawned on his beclouded mind.
“Then, that Man hanging on it is dying in my place….for me!”
“Yes, Barabbas, for you. Did I not tell you that somebody died for you?”
“Can it be possible! For me, dying for me, taking my place! But yes, that cross was made for me, and I should have been hanging there now. And yet, He is dying in my stead. He has taken my place. I can’t understand it. I don’t know why He did it. But He did, and I can’t help but believe it. He is really and truly dying for me.”
“Yes Barabbas, for you.”
And for you, too, sinner friend. Jesus Christ the Son of God hung there that day for you as well as for Barabbas. He took your place, died in your stead, became your substitute, bore your sins, gave His life that you, a poor, lost, guilty sinner, might live.
Isn’t that good news? You deserve death, but you do not need to die. You ought to pay the penalty for your sins, but another has paid it for you. Yes, somebody died for you, and that somebody was God’s only begotten Son. We must accept Him as our substitute by obedience to the will of God. (Adapted from a tract published by Osterhus Publishing House, Minneapolis, MN)
What Think Ye of Christ?
Pharisees, with what have ye to reproach Jesus? “This man recieveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luke 15:2).
Caiaphas, what have you to say of Him? “He hath spoken blasphemy” (Matt. 26:65). (Jesus had said in Matt. 26: 64, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”)
Pilate, what is your opinion? “I find no fault in this Man” (Luke 23:4)
Judas, who sold your Master for silver, have you some fearful charge to hurl against Him? “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matt. 27:54).
Centurion and soldiers, who led Him to the cross, what have you to say against Him? “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matt. 27:54).
And you, John the Apostle? He is “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16).
Peter, what say you of your Master? “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
And you, doubting Thomas? “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
And Thou, Father in heaven, Who knowest ALL things? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
Dear friend, what think you of Christ? This is the vital question, for Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
To some people, Christianity is little more than ritualism, pageantry, pomp, and ceremony. Such was the attitude of the Pharisees concerning the religion established by the law of Moses. For them, ritualism, ceremony, pageantry and show were everything; character and conduct were nothing.
Christianity is not pageantry, pomp, ritualism and ceremony. You may be sure that the people who parade their Christianity by pageantry and pomp, and by wearing the gorgeous robes and sparkling jewelry have failed completely to understand what Christianity is.
- Christianity is right living in the various relationships of life.
- In the home, Christianity is love, kindness, and the training of children in the way they should go.
- In business, Christianity is diligence, honesty and fairness.
- In society, Christianity is courtesy and helpfulness.
- In the church, Christianity is faithfulness, humility, love, soberness, righteousness and godliness.
- Toward God Christianity is reverence and obedience.
- Toward the poor, Christianity is helpfulness.
- Concerning self, Christianity is glorifying God with the body and spirit. (Basil D. Shilling)