The Trade (Read: John 18:28-40)

By: Annie Rogers

In my classroom, we have a “no trading” rule.

This might sound a little harsh, but I’ve learned from experience that if students trade things, they always end up regretting it.

For example, if they trade pencils, one student will realize they want their pencil back after about fifteen minutes. The other student will insist on keeping the pencil—or worse, the pencil has already been defaced by scissors or broken in half. This results in yelling, tears, anger, and frustration. Trading in the classroom always ends in regret.

In John 18, the Jews came to a similar predicament. They had made a trade they would later come to regret.

Jesus stands before Pontius Pilot and is questioned ceaselessly. The interrogation ends with Pilot turning to the crowd of Jews and offering a trade: Barabbas for Jesus. The Jews shout, “Give us Barabbas!” and the prisoner Barabbas is released from prison, while Jesus is sentenced to his death. It is not until His sentence is carried out on the cross that eyes are opened.

Some Jews begin to feel that sudden ping of regret. They realize they have killed their Savior.

How often do we make this trade? We may not be trading Jesus for Barabbas, but we certainly trade Jesus for relevant matters.

We trade devotions for TV time or sleep, only to grow angry when we cannot feel or hear God. We trade our morals for pleasure, unable to turn our face towards God out of shame, wishing we could undo our past. We trade God’s Law for popularity or success, wedging a deeper and deeper chasm between Him and us. We trade Jesus for convenience, staying home another Sunday instead of joining in fellowship at church.

Perhaps it is time to stop trading Jesus and start choosing Jesus. Choose to spend time with him first thing in the morning and the last thing before bed, growing more intimate in your relationship day after day. Choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, delighting in the Lord and dwelling in his presence. Choose to embark on His journey for you, knowing that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20). Choose to join the community of believers as the hands and feet of Christ, functioning together as One Body.

Instead of making the trade we will come to regret, let us begin to choose Jesus again and again, every time.

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