It's Easter Time - Let's Follow Jesus' Example

When I was a youth minister in Michigan, I had a roommate. How I got the roommate was not through normal means. I had heard through one of the students in the church about a guy my age who was homeless and living out of his car. I found out where he was sleeping, went over there, knocked on his car window, and invited him to stay at my house. He lived in one of my spare bedrooms for around a year and a half and we became good friends.

While living at my house, he was caught in a traffic violation and was put in the slammer. I did not know it prior to this incident, but he had some outstanding speeding tickets and a warrant out for his arrest. After his sister refused to pay his bail, he called and asked if I could post the $250 bail.

The church I served at was located right between my house and the local jail. I was on the one side of the church, free.  And he was asking for freedom while sitting in the jail on the other side of the church.  It felt surreal to have a friend behind bars less than a football field away from me. 

I prayed and felt that God wanted me to pay the bail, tell him it was a gift from God, and that it was symbolic of how God frees us even when we do not deserve it. I followed through partly. I walked over to the jail and put up his bail, but I never followed through on the half that I thought was cheesy; I never said that it was a free gift from God and symbolic of how Jesus frees us. He told me that he would repay the money. I replied that would be okay. In the end, I never received that $250, but the most important thing is that I failed to love him the way that God told me to.

Thankfully, Jesus is more faithful to us than I was to my roommate.  When Jesus reached the point of having to go through the great sacrifice of dying on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven, he went through with it even when he did not want to. 

Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  Luke 22:41-44 (ESV)

I chose to be unfaithful for $250.  My price was low.  Every day, if I examine myself, I see that I still lack faithfulness in many areas.  I give in to my own selfish desires too easily.  But the good news is that Jesus is still full of grace toward us, despite all of our failings.

Jesus set such a good example for us to follow and has paid the price for each of our sins.  The next time I catch myself being selfish and living for myself, I need to remind myself of the price that Jesus paid on that cross so that I can be free.  And then use that freedom, not for myself, but to further His will here.  That is a great privilege.  It's Easter.