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Liberation Day

Now at the feast [Passover Day - Israel's Liberation Day AD 33] he [Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judea] used to release for them [the Jerusalem residents] one prisoner for whom they asked.       Mark 15: 6

Liberation Days are very common world-wide. Some have lasted hundreds of years - like Bastille Day in France (since 1789) - ours in Jersey only 63 years ... so far. And we still have, of course, 11 November 1918 that we rightly recall.
The release of prisoners or the pardoning of criminals is also a common feature of such commemoration days. Last year in France President Jacques Chirac, following that custom on Bastille Day 14 July 2007, released 3,500 prison inmates. A tad overdone, perhaps - but, there again, France had 61,000 prison inmates at the time in prisons built for 50,000.
Perhaps the most frowned upon Presidential release of a criminal of recent times occurred in 2001 when President Clinton pardoned commodities trader Marc Rich, a fugitive who was prosecuted for US tax evasion and fled to Switzerland. Rich was pardoned after his former wife, Denise Rich, contributed heavily to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
But the best known example occurred in AD 33 when, on the Feast Day of Passover (this commemorated the liberation from slavery in Egypt of 1.5 million Israelites around 1350 BC), Pilate released Barabbas, an insurgent and a murderer, instead of Jesus Christ.
As with most things about this man, Jesus Christ, everything is, in fact, upside down.

Take a look at those released and not crucified that day -

  • Judas Iscariot who committed suicide - he could no longer live with himself after his SELFinterest turned out to have been wrong
  • The religious, civic leaders - in captivity to SELFinterest because they had to procure the killing of another so as to retain their place at the top
  • Peter, Jesus' most vociferous follower - a broken weeping man after SELFinterest led him to deny he knew Jesus.
  • Pilate - in captivity too to SELFinterest because he had to agree to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus given that his own position back in Rome was precarious because his patron there, Prefect Sejanus, had fallen out of favour and been executed.
  • Barabbas - he could pursue his religious, political objectives - unchanged in his SELFinterest

Then take a look at the one who was crucified -

  • He was totally SELFgiving - he wanted to die for others, he wanted to give his life as a ransom for many, many people
  • He had told the high priest that he, the high priest, would see the Son of Man coming in "power" - but the Greek word used for "power was dunamis and that really means ability.  The high priest would see Jesus' unique ability to SELFgive - to the death - for others.

Yes, Jesus was the only one not needing release from SELFinterest that day. Only he was truly free that day.

Two questions then arise, "Who in Jersey is really liberated?" and “What can be done to free me from me and from the damage I do to MYself?"

‘... and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed ... today" (Winston Churchill, Prime Minister, BBC broadcast May 9 1945)
‘The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will.' (A W Tozer, American pastor, 1897-1963
Richard Syvret

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