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
Jesus at this point in time is on trial awaiting to go on the cross for you and for me. He has been betrayed by one of His own disciples, while the self-proclaimed zealous disciple Peter denied the fact that he even know Him. He was delivered to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to await his future fate. Imagine that. Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, locked up as a prisoner awaiting death.
The custom in Jewish culture was that during one of their major festivals they had the option of choosing one prisoner to let walk freely. Pilate immediately suggests they release Jesus but the crowd had other plans. They wanted to instead release a man by the name Barabbas (who was also called Jesus Barabbas) who was a known murderer and insurrectionist. Pilate offered the option to them once more, but their decision had been made up. They chose Barabbas and decided they wanted Jesus to be crucified. WOW!
The choice given to the crowd was either to choose Jesus the Christ or Jesus Barabbas. Which Jesus are you going to choose? That same question rings true for us today doesn’t it? Which Jesus are you going to choose? This Easter, which Jesus are you going to choose? Jesus the Christ who came to give you life, or that idol in your life that will leave you in a pit? As Christians the call for us is to make the choice to choose Jesus the Christ every day of our life. We ought to because we can relate to King David in that 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).
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 and for us. 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. Sure, life isn’t always peachy. Life is tough, but you are able to walk in joy because you have the Creator of the Universe walking alongside of you. In choosing to worship the idols that are in and around your life, you are just going to find yourself in a pit, empty and searching. 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 Jesus Christ.
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…”