Friday, April 22, 2022
15-18 It was an old custom during the Feast for the governor to pardon a single prisoner named by the crowd. At the time, they had the infamous Jesus Barabbas in prison. With the crowd before him, Pilate said, “Which prisoner do you want me to pardon: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus the so-called Christ?” He knew it was through sheer spite that they had turned Jesus over to him.
19 While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message: “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about him.”
20 Meanwhile, the high priests and religious leaders had talked the crowd into asking for the pardon of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.
21 The governor asked, “Which of the two do you want me to pardon?”
They said, “Barabbas!”
22 “Then what do I do with Jesus, the so-called Christ?”
They all shouted, “Nail him to a cross!”
-Matthew 27:15-22 The Message
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
Verse 15: Now, at the feast, the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd anyone prisoner whom they wanted.
Verse 16: And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
Verses 15-16 studies: Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion against the Roman government. Although an enemy of Rome, he is a hero to the Jews. Barabbas was guilty of a crime for which Jesus was accused. Barabbas means “son of the father,” which means this was Jesus’ position with God.
And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. -Mark 15:7 ESV
Verse 17: So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
Verse 18: For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.
Verse 19: Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”
Verse 19 study: Pilate is a leader supposed to support justice. But Pilate proved to be more concerned with politically correct than doing what’s right. He did have opportunities to do the right thing. His conscience said Jesus was innocent; Roman law said an innocent man should not be put to death; his wife had a troubling dream. Pilate had no excuse to condemn Jesus but was afraid of the crowd.
Verse 20: Now, the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
Verse 21: The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
Verse 21 study: The crowd was unpredictable. Everybody loved Jesus on Sunday because they believed he would inaugurate his kingdom. Then they hated him on Friday when his power appeared broken. In the face of the mass uprising against Jesus, his friends were afraid to speak up.
The obvious choice for the people was to choose Barabbas, a revolutionary and murderer, over the Son of God. But unfortunately, in today’s world, people choose Barabbas over the Son of God. This is because they would rather have the tangible force of human power than the salvation offered by the Son of God.
Verse 22: Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!”