This Easter season I find myself in unknown territory. Usually, I take time this season to reflect on what Jesus did for us. You know, the whole dying to save us thing. It is a time when I think upon his grace and His willingness to go to any links to do the will of His father. This year has been a little different.
This year I am grieved.
I am not grieved by Christ’s death. After all His death was for my benefit. No, I am grieved by His rejection. I am grieved because we are still rejecting Him and shouting, “Give us Barabbas! Crucify Jesus!”
It is easy to look at the world and get discouraged. It is easy to look at the world and say, “they don’t get it.” But, today, it is not the world for which I grieve, it is the church for which I grieve. The world doesn’t know any different, but we the church should.
Mark 15:6-15 (NIV): Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
Here, in Mark, we find a man named Barabbas. Barabbas is a thief. Barabbas is a murderer. We also have a crowd of people, Jesus’s people-Jews. The crowd has a choice to make. One prisoner can be released. A murderer or Jesus, the man who calls himself the Son of God. A man they had seen perform miracles and great healings. A man this very same crowd had just welcomed into town, with praise an acclamation, only a few days before.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Now, Pilate has a choice to make. Does he follow his “conscience” and His wife or does he follow the crowd?
15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
We may not know it, but we make this decision every day. We unknowingly ask ourselves the same question found in Matthew 27:22:
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
Right now someone is making a decision. Someone is answering this question.
Sadly, a lot of people are making the wrong choice. The world is a strong influence that is hard to avoid, even in church. It is easy to get mad and angry at those who we think oppose Christ. I have confessed to this myself. However, our anger and frustration is often displaced.
First off, the Jews did not kill Jesus. Say what? No, Jesus died willingly because His father asked Him to. No, Jesus died for the sole reason of doing the will of His father. He died for your sins, he died for my sins. We should not be angry, we should be grateful.
However, does that meant the crowd of people calling for the death of Jesus were not innocent. No, of course not. They were guilty. Guilty as sin. But what were they guilty of?
1. They did not recognize the Son of God.
2. They then rejected the Son of God, the Messiah;
3. They were misled and did not follow God.
This is where we find the Church today. Notice, I said Church. I am not here talking about the world’s rejection. That is evident. No, I would like us to take a closer look at how the Church is now guilty. Therefore, we will spend the rest of the week leading to Resurrection Sunday, looking into the three ways the Church today is guilty in the death of Jesus Christ.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,