"Two-thousand years ago when I came to My people, they were very distressed.
They were being occupied by a foreign, pagan power.
They wanted their freedom.
They wanted to return to the old days when their nation was glorious.
They didn't want to be taxed unfairly anymore.
They didn't want to have to obey leaders who didn't worship the only true God.
They saw the immorality of the Roman people and their government.
My people wanted to be set apart from all of that and free from it.
They felt it was polluting them and their land.
They wanted their nation to be righteous and law-abiding.
"When I came, My people did not understand Me.
They kept waiting for Me to lead them against their enemies.
They complained that I criticized them too much
and that I spent too much time with sinners.
I didn't join in their rebellions against Rome or their hatred of being taxed.
My people couldn't understand that I didn't come to give them political freedom
or to restore their prosperity from days past.
They were so focused on these that they had no room for what I wanted to tell them. They clung to parts of Scripture to support their political fight against Rome
(and their ever-increasing armed rebellions against Rome),
but they wouldn't listen to Me when I told them what the Law was all about—
and when I told them what My Father was like.
"What could I have done that I did not do?
I saw where this would lead them—
I told them what would happen to their city and nation,
and I wept in front of them.
But they would not listen to Me.
They pursued power and control.
They fought their enemies.
They rebelled for the sake of their national and material freedom.
I offered them a peace that would pass understanding
and an inheritance that would never spoil or fade.
But their treasure was their earthly kingdom.
They didn't have room in their hearts for My kingdom.
But I loved them anyway.
"I took the place of one of their rebels.
I was crucified between the two other rebels.
What happened to the one who lived because I took his place?
Did he understand what one of his friends had understood—that he deserved this?
Did he realize that My kingdom was not what he was fighting for at all?
Or did he return to the cause of trying to 'free' the nation
and establish 'righteousness' in the land?
"Some of My people understood—
a remnant of them understood.
Most did not.
I died for all of their rebellion.
But they returned to their rebellious ways.
They prized their political power and freedom more than they prized
their eternal inheritance and the lives of their neighbors.
They loved their 'nation', their 'land', their 'freedom' and their money
more than they loved Me.
"Have My people learned from what happened back then?
Is there room for My word in their hearts?
Why am I weeping?"
Art: "The Release of Barabbas"