Irvin Wasswa, Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?”And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
In Mark 15 we see Jesus on trial before Pilate and the people awaiting possible death. Up to this point He has been betrayed by one of His own disciples, while the self-proclaimed zealous disciple Peter denied the fact that he even knew Him. He was delivered to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to await his future fate. Imagine that. Jesus, the Son of God chained up as a prisoner awaiting death.
The custom in Jewish culture at the time was during the festival was to release one of the prisoners on trial. Pilate immediately suggested they release Jesus but the crowd had other plans. They instead asked for the release of a man by the name Barabbas (known as Jesus Barabbas) who was a known murderer and insurrectionist in the area. Though Pilate offered the option once more of releasing Jesus, the crowd chose Barabbas, thus sending Jesus to the cross.
The decision at hand in Mark 15 was for the crowd to choose either Jesus the Christ or Jesus Barabbas. The same question is posed to us today. Which Jesus are you going to choose? Will you choose Jesus the Christ who came to give you life, or that idol in your life that will leave you in a pit? Will you choose Jesus who satisfies the thirsty soul, or the idol that will live your soul parched? As Christians the call for us is to make the choice to choose Jesus the Christ every day of our life. Why? Because like King David spoke to in Psalm 34:8, we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). We know that He is worthy of all of our worship (Revelation 4:11). We know He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that He deserves our total surrender.
Listen friend, do not fall into the trap in which the crowd and Pilate fell into. The crowd full of religious leaders allowed for their emotions to get in the way of making the right decision (V.10-11). Don’t be like Pontius Pilate who let the cries of the crowd and his desire to satisfy them keep him from making the right choice (v.15). Choose Jesus Christ!
You know the rest of the story. The crowd chose Jesus Barabbas, and Jesus Christ went to the cross. The One whom they shouted to crucify was the One who was going to the cross for them. Here’s a piece of truth to hold onto: Understand that whichever Jesus you choose, you are going to get exactly what you asked for. In Jesus the Christ, there is life and life abundantly. There is peace in the storms of life. There is life how we were created to live: in community with God. Even when life is difficult, you are able to walk in joy because you have the Creator of the Universe walking alongside you. In choosing to worship idols, you will simply find yourself in a pit.
By the way, thirty or so years later, insurrectionists like Barabbas took their shot to overthrow Rome and failed miserably, leading to destruction. You see the picture? The crowd chose Barabbas and they got exactly what they asked for. The choice is yours friend. Choose the risen Jesus today!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord, thank you for your love. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I pray today that you would show me your greatness and give me the strength to choose to worship you with everything not just on Easter, but everyday of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”