September 29, Thursday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI QT Devotionals from September 26-October 2 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, who is a teacher.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 18:39-40

But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

29“Barabbas was a robber.” That’s all we know about Barabbas. Scripture has nothing positive to say about this man. It is safe to say that Barabbas was considered the scum of society at that time. A notorious prisoner (Matt 27:16), most likely destined to see the inside of a jail cell for the rest of his days. But one day, the crowd began to chant his name. “Barabbas! Barabbas!” Hearing the commotion, Barabbas must have thought the worst… that his execution day had come sooner than he anticipated. But as the soldiers who dragged him out began to unshackle his limbs, it dawned on Barabbas. He was being freed. Impossible! There was no hope of freedom left for him! How was this happening? As he moved about freely for the first time in ages, perhaps he caught a glimpse of the other prisoner, the man named Jesus. I wonder if Barabbas knew at that moment, that he had been the first of many for whom Jesus would die.

The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Barabbas, but we know that Jesus took his place. We know that because of Jesus, this undeserved sinner was given life again. We also know his name means “son of the father” (bar = son of, abba = father).

In a profound way, Barabbas represents all of us who believe in Jesus. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And now we have become sons/daughters of the Father. Spend some time today thanking Jesus for taking our place!

Prayer

Lord, we thank you that you suffered and died for us while we were still sinners, unaware of your great love for us.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 2

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Lunch Break Study 

Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Questions to Consider:

  1. How did God show his love for us?
  2. What is unusual/different about the timing of God’s love?

Notes:

  1. God showed (demonstrated) His love for us when Jesus died for us, while we were still sinners. In other words, Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s ultimate act of love for us.
  2. For most, love doesn’t exist (or last very long) unless it is a two-way street. Typically, love is the last stage in the maturation of a relationship. First we make acquaintances, then a few of those become friends, from there even fewer eventually make it into our inner circle, those whom we call “loved ones”. But God starts the relationship with love! Before we became “friends” of God, and even before we made our acquaintance with Him… He loved us, and died for us. What does it look like for you to display this kind of love towards others?

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Evening Reflection  

The Hebrew word for compassion shares the same root as the word “womb”. The idea is that a pregnant woman already loves her baby. Even if she hasn’t seen, heard, or held the baby yet, she would give her life for it. This love of a mother over the baby in her womb is a dim reflection of God’s love over us. Read this verse and spend some time reflecting on God’s great love over us:

Can a woman forget her nursing child,

that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget,

yet I will not forget you.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

your walls are continually before me.

Isaiah 49:15-16

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