Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

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By Erik Iverson
Holy Cross, Seeley Lake and Faith Lutheran, Condon Churches 

Ecce Homo


“Ecce homo”...“Behold the man.” These are the words, in his native tongue, of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, Israel during the trial of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had been brought to the Romans with the hope that they would condemn and execute Him, rather than His enemies themselves doing it. But amid all of the other events surrounding His arrest, trial, persecution and eventual crucifixion, there was one particular interaction that occurred just prior to these words being spoken as Pilate presented a brutally beaten and scourged Jesus to His accusers who wished Him to be executed.

Pilate had enjoined a Jewish Passover custom wherein a person’s death sentence could be commuted by means of popular assent. On this occasion, he offered a choice to the crowd before him: Barabbas, a known and convicted criminal, or Jesus of Nazareth.

An important and often overlooked detail in this account lies within the names. The Aramaic surname Barabbas (who some sources claim had Jesus as his first name) literally means “son of the father.” One of the main charges against Jesus was that He had claimed that He was the only-begotten son of God the Father. All of which reveals a telling dichotomy in the choice now presented before the people; Whom would they choose to forgive and set free, leaving the other to be sent to his death? Would it be the guilty and convicted “son of the father”, or the innocent, true Son of the Father? As we know, they chose the former.

We too are presented with a choice. Though it is something about which many are resolute in not believing or admitting, (often to the point of being offended at the mere notion), God’s Word is clear that we are born into, predisposed to, and guilty of iniquity. No amount of good intentions or deeds are anywhere near commensurate to pay for such. Jesus Christ came to willingly pay this price for us all by laying down His life.

The choice that lies before us now is in whom we will entrust not only our earthly lives, but our very souls as well, with eternal consequences. Many will choose to trust in themselves, or to simply be dismissive of this all, but even this non-choice is in itself a choice. Too often it is only with the death of a loved one or the realization of our own eventual passing that this truth will be faced, but sooner or later we all will, irrespective of any of our other notions, stand before God.

Very soon we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He willingly made the choice to give His life on that cross in exchange for ours, and when He conquered death itself He also offered forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in heaven. All that He asks of us for this is simply to repent of our sins, and receive Him as our loving Savior, wherein He offers us forgiveness and anew both now, and in eternity.


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