“All religion is of life; and the life of religion is to do good.” - Doctrine of Life §1
Kempton New Church


Day 37: April 1

Readings:

And at the festival he would release to them one prisoner, whomever they asked for. And there was one called Barabbas, bound with fellow insurrectionists who had done murder in the insurrection. And the crowd, crying out, began to ask for him to do as he had always done for them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Do you will that I release to you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him up for envy. But the chief priests urged the crowd, that he should rather release Barabbas to them. And Pilate answering again said to them, What do you will then that I shall do to Him whom you call King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify Him! And Pilate said to them, Why? What evil has He done? And they cried out exceedingly, Crucify Him! And Pilate, intending to do something considerable for the crowd, released Barabbas to them, and delivered up Jesus, when he had whipped Him, to be crucified. (Mark 15:6-15)

The fact that evil is permitted, a state enjoyed by everyone’s internal man, makes it obvious that man has free will in spiritual matters. (True Christian Religion 479)

Evils are permitted for the sake of the goal, which is salvation. (Divine Providence 249:3)

Reflection:

Even though it was a horrible crime, people were permitted to crucify the Lord. Freedom to love and do good is not possible without also allowing the freedom to hate and do evil. The people of the church were permitted to choose to rescue a criminal and condemn Jesus. The evil of crucifying our Lord let other people recognize that using the church for selfish goals is not just neutral, but actually diametrically opposed to heaven and the Lord. Are we guilty of having used the church for selfish gain? Do we attend only to feel good about ourselves, or have other people respect our piety?

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