In chapter 15 of Mark, the crowd has a choice to make. Jesus has been arrested and taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. Pilate finds no harm in this obscure rabbi, and offers the people a chance to save Him. Amazingly, they choose to save Barabbas, a notorious criminal! How could this be? I would never do that, would you?
Unfortunately, if I’m honest, I do it every day, and so do you. When we use His name carelessly, or hear others do so without objecting, haven’t we denied who He is? When we choose the practical, worldly solution to a problem instead of trusting the Word of God, haven’t we chosen Barabbas? When we ignore that homeless person on the street, walking by him without a thought for his condition, haven’t we failed to show compassion for Christ? When we chose to follow religious leaders who are not godly, aren’t we part of that crowd that condemned Him? When peer pressure leads us to run after more and more material goods when we could be contributing to the church, aren’t we as bad as those who yelled, “Crucify Him?”
I would say that we are. We all sin and it is our sin that made it necessary for Jesus to die.
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:4-5
For more on the book of Mark see these posts:
,You Are Not Swayed by Appearances
No One is Good Except God Alone
This is a quote from my devotional by Theophilus Parsons (1797-1882) who was a Harvard law professor. It is important to note that for Lutherans, our choices do not affect our salvation, but they do advance our sanctification.
“Barabbas and Jesus cannot both live within us. One must die. Yes, every emotion of selfishness or worldliness in every soul plays the part of Barabbas. Good influences may have prevailed for a time, and they, or perhaps motives of worldly regard, may have put Barabbas in prison, and under some restraint; but the decisive, the fatal question remains, Shall he die? Yes, he or Jesus. Nor is it only on great occasions and in fearful crises that this question comes to us. Every hour, every moment, when we resist what we must know to be the influence of our Lord, and casting that aside, give the victory, under whatever pretence or name, to that which is indeed our own Barabbas, we then do all that we are able to do to crucify our Lord afresh. Every emotion which tempts us to refuse obedience to Him, “to make insurrection,” to suppress and overcome whatever sense of right conscience gives –is not that the robber, rebel, murderer, Barabbas? We may have, indeed, imprisoned him, we may have resolved that he should die–shall we now release him from restraint, and let him go free? If we do, we know now what must happen–we know between what alternatives we choose.”