Summary: It’s the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead......

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Firstly, I want to welcome everyone here this morning. Today is a very special day for Christians, probably THE day that is the single most important to our faith. Yes, all the events in the life of Jesus were important...the conception, the baptism, the ministry, the miracles, and yes, even Jesus’ death are major events for us Christians. But as I pondered this week, I believe that even those events, as important as they were, would really be meaningless to us today if it were not for the fact that our Saviour arose! The tomb of Jesus is empty, and contrary to what the world would have you to believe, there are not even bones there for HE has risen and defeated death for you and me!

As I began to study the Bible and search the scriptures for the message this AM, I realized that just one small bit of text will not suffice, so today we will be reading quite a bit of keep your Bibles handy! Open with me to MAT 27:15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.19While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." 20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered. 22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked.They all answered, "Crucify him!" 23"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" 24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man’s blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" 25All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" 26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (PRAYER)

I would like to go over this text and point out a few things to you. Firstly, we know that the whole reason for Jesus being in Jerusalem was because it was what week? The week of Passover, where the Jews celebrated their release from Egyptian slavery. They still celebrate it today.....but we Christians are celebrating something different than they are. We are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. Unfortunately, the Jews are still waiting for their Messiah....even though He is right there for them! They even rejected Jesus in this text, didn’t they? Pilate would have set Jesus free, but they chose Barabbas, a convicted murderer!

It wasn’t the first time Christ was rejected, and to this day people are still rejecting Him. What bothers me the most I think, is that these Jews weren’t convinced that Jesus actually WAS the Son of God. Today, there are people who KNOW who Christ is and yet still reject Him. Even Christ prayed to God during the crucifixion "Father, forgive them....they know not what they do....". I read that 75% of people who aren’t born-again actually DO believe in the resurrection of Jesus. How can they believe in the resurrection and yet still not accept Jesus into their lives? It makes me pray "Father, forgive them......even though they KNOW what they do!"

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