Thirty-Eighth Day of Lent, Maundy Thursday

Matthew 27:24-31

I love the excitement of the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline, as well as trade deadline day itself. It’s a chance for general managers to decide who stays and who goes on their squad. Ultimately they are trying to make trades that will be beneficial for their teams well being. Some teams even make a temporary trade (they get a “rental” player) to get them through the difficult playoff time, and then go a totally different direction once the calm of summer off-season arrives. And when you watch Trade Centre on TSN you have the luxury of being an armchair general manager, and can judge whether a trade you see made was good or bad.

In Matthew 27, it appears that the trade deadline has arrived for a rowdy group of Jews gathered outside Pilate’s headquarters. Pilate (in verse 17) asks the crowd whom they want for the well being of their group, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

We see in verse 26 that the crowd had spoken, shouted actually, and laid out their demands. They traded Jesus the Messiah, for Jesus Barabbas the convict. And we all look in at a distance from our armchairs and say “bad trade.”

But do we not trade in Jesus for ________________ almost everyday at some point in some way/shape/form? You fill in the blank. For me, like many western Christians, my fill in the blank words are “comfort” and “security.”

But Jesus, at this point in the text, is already well on His way to the cross. This is anything but comfortable and secure. Will I go with Him there?

It has been my observation over the years in serving the church that Good Friday service is far less attended than Easter Sunday service. Is it possible that we trade Jesus in at trade deadline (crucifixion) and pick up a rental (comfort perhaps), and then try and re-sign Jesus in free agency when all is calm and happy again (Easter)?

We will not understand the magnitude of Easter if we don’t go right through these coming days. So I encourage you to take the road less travelled to the cross, don’t join in with the crowds shouting for a trade for Jesus the Messiah. It is for your well being.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt. 7:13-14)

Cody Anderson
Winnipeg, MB