Matthew 27:15-20 NLT
15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.
In the story of Barrabas and Jesus on trial, fingers could be pointed several directions as to why Jesus, an innocent man, was sent to the cross while a murderer is set free.
1. Pilate: He could have ignored the custom of releasing a criminal according to crowd choice and made his own choice. He knew the leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy (v. 18). To top it off, his wife told Pilate of a dream she ad and pleaded to release Jesus. Still Pilate washed his hands clean and released Barrabas. No matter how many times Pilate washed his hands, the spots of guilt would remain (until he took his sins to God, which I hope he did).
2. The elders: They convinced the crowd to ask for Jesus (v. 20). These men should have noble and pursuing God’s justice and mercy instead of convincing the crowd to follow their corrupted lead.
3. The crowd: Yes, the elders put bugs in their ears, but the crowds were still sentient beings. It isn’t fair to say the crowd had to follow the elder’s advice. The members of this crowd still share some of the blame for the course of events on this day.
Blame could be placed on any of these people, but placing blame does not change the fact that an innocent man was placed on the cross. All of these people will answer for their faults when they reach heaven. Thankfully for us, God takes the sins of humans and makes a beautiful story. Through the faults of all of these people, God’s plan of salvation moved one step farther. An innocent man was killed and a sinful man was set free. Read that last sentence again and think about your own salvation. From a young age we were all guilty of sin, yet we are still offered the choice to be set free. An innocent man, Jesus, was killed so that you, a sin-filled human, could be set free.
If you’ve already accepted this gift from God, take a few moments now to thank God. Thank him for orchestrating these events. Thank him for giving up his son so that we could all have a relationship with him. Thank God for his gift too wonderful for words. (2 Corinthians 9:15). And then try to put it into words.
If you’re just now seeing yourself as filled with sin, take a moment to think how you will never be able to stand before God as you are. Know right now that Jesus also died for you so that you could be set free from sin. You will be able to stand before God when you die and he’ll welcome you in with a hug. Currently without the grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice, you will spend life on Earth searching and life after death in Hell. If, though, you choose to accept Christ’s actions and his place as God’s son; and you choose to follow his will, you will have a relationship with God and spend eternity in heaven.
Let me tell you, this choice is the right one. It gives you hope and purpose, and it’s entirely free! Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about this choice. I’d love to talk to you.