PILATE CAVED IN
"Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.
"But they kept shouting back, 'Crucify! Crucify Him.'
"He tried a third time.”'But for what crime?' I've found nothing in Him deserving death.' I'm going to warn Him to watch His step and let Him go.'
"But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that He be crucified. And finally they shouted him down. Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown into prison for rioting and murder, and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted." Luke 23:20-25 (The Message).
And so, finally, the mob prevailed. They wore Pilate down until he gave in to shut them up and to keep the peace.
We would do well, at this moment, to consider their choice. Because of the custom to release a prisoner at Passover, they had to choose between two men, Barabbas, a murderer, and Jesus, the Son of God, who had come to give life, not take it.
"Barabbas" means "son of the father". Of whose father was he the son? On one occasion the Jewish leaders had an altercation with Jesus. He had promised them freedom if they obeyed His teaching. They protested. "'We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?'" John 8:33 (NIV).
Jesus responded with a shocking statement: "'If you were Abraham's children...then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I have heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father did.'" John 8:38b-41 (NIV).
They protested that God was their Father. Jesus' response was, 'Prove it. Who do you resemble?'
"Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here...Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there was no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.'" John 8:42-44 (NIV).
The choice of the mob is understandable when we recognise who Barabbas was, the "son" of his father the devil and of the same family as those who wanted him freed. They were all inadvertently in league with one another because, on their own unwitting admission, Jesus' accusers were also sons of the devil. They displayed the nature of the devil because he was a murderer from the beginning.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. How true was His claim? To be the "son of" in Jewish thought was to be from the same source and to display the same nature as the father, a sort of "chip off the old block".
How true was this claim? Was Jesus connected to His Father as His source? Did He display the same nature as the Father? "'Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?'" We have spent months travelling with Jesus through the Gospel of Luke. We have to answer Jesus' challenge with a resounding "No!" Everything Jesus said and did revealed His union with the Father and His revelation of the Father's nature. He was always a giver, never a taker of life.
By their choice of Barabbas, the Jewish religious leaders and the mob they led, acknowledged that the devil was their "father" and admitted their alienation from God. Pilate, in his weakness, joined hands with them.
We have already made our choice, Barabbas or Jesus. It all depends on which father we display - the devil or God. To be against or indifferent to Jesus means that we are also of the devil and stand condemned as Pilate did.
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