The Leader, the Son of God, chastised by the chief priests, the elders and teachers of the law, condemned by the people, convicted by the people and sentenced to death while a murderer (Barabbas) was set free. The irony is that these are some of the same people who had given him a royal welcome, anointed him and even Pilate who called him the “King of the Jews.” And when asked to defend himself, Jesus remains quiet, knowing there is a greater plan for His suffering.
Jesus, the King of all Kings, Lord of all Lords, is mocked by the guards, beaten, spat upon and disrobed. “And, THIS,” asks Pastor Carlson, “is our “Good News?”
OUR GOOD NEWS
Indeed, it is our Good News, as we are set free from sin through Jesus Christ. Pastor Carlson talks about the sinner in each of us that rejoices in the news of this story and Jesus’ decision to align himself with the torture, the brokenness. Jesus in His presence is freedom. Jesus is the Hope that sets us free- just as Jesus set free Barabbas, so, too, we are set free from sin by Jesus.
With more than 30 years of ministry experience, Pastor Carlson shared his experience with visiting prisoners and those in jail, and yet, reminds us prison is not just physical. We are imprisoned by physical limitations, emotional limitations and sin. And, yet, we are reminded that whatever imprisons us, is set free through the hope and love of Jesus Christ.
THE DIFFERENCE OF HOPE
High school junior, Kaitlyn, shared her testimony to the Hope and Love of Jesus Christ she has received through St. Andrew’s youth ministry. At school, she was isolated by some because of her faith- being labeled the “Christian girl” in a derogatory way she had never experienced before. Through that labeling, she grew weary and began spending her lunch hour in the library, locker room, or anywhere exchanging the barrage of negativity for complete isolation.
Kaitlin talks about that isolation and juxtaposes it with the feeling of comfort she found at St. Andrew’s during an uncertain time at school. She shared how youth director- Josh Carlson’s reception and warmth drew her back to church each week. She recalls his welcome to her and others- often saying, “Welcome home! I’m so glad to see you! Tell me about your week.”
We all have stories of places we feel hopeless and helpless. Thankfully, we all also share in a place of hope through St. Andrew’s, its mission and ministry.
Pastor Carlson shared “right across the parking lot, right across the street” we are hearing a helplessness in America that we haven’t seen in a while. We have kids afraid to go home, kids afraid to go to school; and, yet, Jesus says- I’ve come to set you free. Free from worry, free from fear. And the beauty of that freedom, to those of us who know it, is that we inhale air and let people know that we are free and loved by God’s grace. You are the one who is called to proclaim God’s grace… What are you doing to proclaim God’s grace?
“You’ve been set free in the presence of Jesus we are set free and called into the work of building hope and transforming lives. May your day be blessed and the whole world know the transforming love of Jesus.” -Pastor Carlson