By Pastor Scott Godinez
There is nothing that pits our determination against consequence more than walking a tightrope. From head to toe you must be entirely convinced of your every step. Each moment you linger increases the likelihood of your gravity-induced demise. It’s not just a physical test, but a mental one also. You must see each step as one step closer to the other side.
Crossing a tightrope is a challenging exercise and for most of us, there’s a limited chance of success.
I’ve never walked a tightrope suspended high in the air. I have walked a tightrope suspended about a foot off the ground and that was a memorable, and humorous challenge. For me the imagery is incredibly valuable. It draws my attention to a man who was faced with a tightrope of sorts. A man we all share more in common with than we might realize: Barabbas.
Barabbas was faced with a tightrope of eternal significance.
Allow me to review Barabbas’ story. He was a convicted criminal sentenced to death for starting a violent uprising in the city and for murder (Luke 23:19). One day he was called from his cell on death row, and brought before the people. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of the province had a tradition of pardoning one prisoner a year. Except this time there would not be a pardon, but instead, a substitution.
Barabbas would have seen an innocent man in Jesus, standing with him. The crowd chanting “release Barabbas, crucify Jesus!”
And then, he was free, the other man, Jesus, condemned.
We don’t know much more about Barabbas after this moment. The Bible does not expand on how he reacted, or what happened in his life after his release from prison. Where then do I see our similarity to Barabbas?
It’s not in the character of Barabbas do I see our union, but in the circumstance.
When he took his first steps as a free man, Barabbas approached a “tightrope.” How could he not be changed after seeing an innocent man sent to die in his place? But how would he be able to turn away from his previous lifestyle that led him into chains?
These tightropes we face, difficult situations where we might feel helpless or we perceive a limited chance of success discourage our days and can leave us feeling uncertain.
And like Barabbas, each day we are faced with a very similar situation.
What are you doing with your freedom? If you are a Christian there can be no other answer than to faithfully respond to Jesus’ gift by walking in the same way as Him.
4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
1 John 2:4-6
I want to believe that Barabbas was a changed man after that day. That he saw the consequences of his choices and turned to Jesus instead. I want to believe that you and I step up to the tightropes in our lives, and no matter the cost we faithfully submit ourselves to God and step onto the narrow wire.
Many things in life can feel like a tightrope. There might be inches separating you from right and wrong or you’re navigating major decisions without clear answers. Things like, who should I marry? Should I change jobs? Is this acceptable for me to do? Is God calling me into ministry?
Sometimes we fear the smallest slip-ups, or perhaps you’re dusting yourself off from having fallen just moments ago. Life can be so overwhelming when you feel like you’re constantly needing to do everything just right. How can we be expected to walk like Jesus, who was literally perfect!
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
However impossible it may seem right now to keep your balance please remember you are not alone. The way is narrow, and the way is difficult not because you need to be stronger, but because you were never intended to be strong enough. Paul shares with us that if it were not for the law “I would not have known what sin was.” (Romans 7:7)
All of the rules and expectations are not designed to disparage you, instead they point you to your need for Jesus to be the fulfillment of everything you could never do on your own.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
I praise God for his law, and for how he uses it to expose more of my need for him. The tightropes of your life are reminders to abide in Jesus!
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
For the follower of Jesus, the consequences are too high for us to risk spending even one moment out of fellowship with Him.
Don’t look for the easy way out. Don’t run from the tightropes. Allow the scary seasons, the hard seasons, those “2020-moments”, to function as daily reminders to abide in Jesus. I can assure you it’s better to be on the high wire with Jesus than to be on the sidewalk without. (Daniel 3:25-27)
Is there a comfort you desire? Is there a direction you are seeking? Is there a hope you’re yearning for? Is there a major change you need? Is there anything good and pure and exceptional that Jesus cannot do in your life right now??
Jesus wants every bit of your heart devoted to him, not because we have anything special to offer him, but because he has so much to offer us! That is the nature of his love–so deeply invested in you that he was willing to die on a cross for you to experience the everlasting grace he offers.
In turn, every facet of your love for Jesus inspires you to step away from sin’s deception and enjoy greater blessings in him.
The disciples knew this. And the world was never the same because of it.
We make Jesus relevant and valuable to the world when we cry out with one voice how deeply we need him. And if it takes walking tightropes to remind us of this fact, then bring it on.