The Cities of Refuge were places that people guilty of manslaughter could live – restricted but productive lives with their families. Justice was served as far as the victim’s family was concerned too because the person guilty of manslaughter didn’t get off scot-free. Justice in family, church and society needs to show fairness, common sense and humanity.
* Dear Lord God, great is Your steadfast love toward us, Your faithfulness endures forever!
“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.”
This God-given law was in place at the time of Jesus – When the chief priests, leaders of the people, teachers of the law showed their hypocrisy.
In the gospel of Mark we read,
“For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.”
“Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.”
Clearly there was no obedience here to the law given through Moses.
Further down in today’s passage we read,
“Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.”
Mark’s description of Barabbas leaves us in no doubt,
“And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.”
The chief priests knew this law. They were fully aware of what God had said through Moses.
The action of swapping out Barabbas for Jesus went completely against God’s commands.
What of us then? What do we do when God’s word gets in the way of something we want? How do we react when the mirror that is God’s word reveals the truth of our motivations?
James tells us what to do,
“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
It is hard to have the reality of our sinful thoughts and desires being shown up against the holiness of God.
It is hard to choose the narrow way when what we want is that glittering thing down the broad road.
Let’s be encouraged to persevere as God’s word is revealed to us, planted and grown within us.
* Almighty God,
May we delight in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.
Please help us listen to Your word today and onwards.