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Choose Jesus, choose life! (Jesus or Barabbas?)
Reading: Matthew 27: 1-26; Luke 23:1-25
Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” – Matthew 27:17
Jesus was ordered to be arrested by the chief priests. The chief priests incited some people to bring false accusations against Jesus. (Matthew 27:1-2) Then Jesus was brought to Pilate. And the governor asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, ‘It is as you say’. Matthew 27:11
After examining Jesus and talking with Him, Pilate did not find any fault against Jesus.
“And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.” (Luke 23:13-15)
At the time of Jesus’ arrest, it was also the feast of the governor.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy, (Matthew 27:15-17).
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:.20)
Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:23)
When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”
And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”— who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. (Luke 23:18-19)
Pilate felt he was powerless over the cry of the people of Israel, so he gave in to their demand. “Let Him be crucified!”. It was not Pilate’s wish or plan to execute Jesus, but Pilate did not want an uprising over the life of one person. Sad to say, it was the religious leaders of Israel who instigated the penalty for Jesus because of jealousy and envy. (Matthew 27:18)
Sad to say when Pilate asked the people whom to release, the people chose Barabbas, a rebel and a murderer.
The people of Israel chose Barabbas over Jesus. They chose a murderer over a sinless man, similar to the people of today’s generation. Sad to say even today, it seems some people choose a life of rebellion against God. Thus, they choose death instead of life. Some people end up dead-physically and spiritually. They choose rebellion, a life away from God, therefore they make a choice of death over a life with Jesus. Jesus died so that we could have eternal life. If we choose Jesus, we choose life.
Dear Lord Jesus, it is our sin that crucified You on the cross. Lord forgive us, help us choose You, help us choose life and not death.