One of the worst exchanges that ever took place in sports history happened on Dec 26, 1919. It was on that day that the New York Yankees bought a player for $100,000 from the Boston Red Sox. Boston’s owner would go on to use the money to finance one of his Broadway productions. The player that was exchanged was named “Babe” Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of his generation. The Yankees would go on to become the most successful franchise in baseball. It was a trade that has been regretted by Boston fans for over 80 years
As poor as this exchange was, it was nothing compared to the exchange that was made at Jesus’ trial. Barabbas, a man responsible for insurrection and murder stood before the crowd that day preparing to receive the punishment for his crimes against the Roman Empire. The penalty for Barabbas’ crimes was death, yet the crowd wanted him released. Instead, Jesus, an innocent man, was given the punishment that Barabbas had earned. Jesus was going to receive the sentence of a rebel and murderer; the innocent man is killed, the murderer goes free.
As we consider Barabbas, he represents our own need for salvation. Daily we have participated in humanity’s rebellion against our Creator. We deserve to be cut off from God and His glory. We have not earned a second chance. Like Barabbas, we have earned our sentence. Like Barabbas, Jesus has paid for our crimes.
Martin Luther wrote, “…by a wonderful exchange our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s, and the righteousness of Christ not Christ’s but ours. He has emptied himself of his righteousness that he might clothe us with it and fill us with it; and he has taken our evils upon himself that he might deliver us from them.” In other words, we are no longer identified by our sins but by Christ’s righteousness. Not only that but Christ makes us righteous, delivering us from our daily temptations and providing freedom from our sin. Through this “wonderful exchange”, we have been set free and have been granted a fresh start.
What do you need to exchange with our Saviour today? Your anxiety for his peace? Your hopelessness for his joy? Your sense of worthlessness for his worth? Take a moment to reflect on this “wonderful exchange” that we have been given through Christ.