Summary: A message about choosing Jesus Christ who is there for us and not choosing those things that seek to destroy us.
It would seem as if our lives were all about choices. Coke or Pepsi, Ford or Chevy, Nike or Reebok, McDonalds or Burger King. Today we demand choices it is as if choosing were our national past-time. 2000 years ago there was a choice to be made as well.
You may notice a difference in this version of this account. On researching this passage I found that in many Ancient Greek manuscripts of this occurrence Barrabas is given a first name, and that name is Ihsoun (Jeshoun) which happens to be translated Jesus. I imagine that when Pilate was faced with this the problem of Jesus he thought that if he gives the people a choice between an innocent man and a notorious and condemned murderer the people would most surely pick the innocent man and so Pilate could save himself from condemning an innocent man.
But, Pilate overestimated the people’s intelligence and underestimated the hatred of those who wanted to see him dead. The people cried out for Jesus Barabbas, “Give us Barabbas!” I can see the stunned look on the face of Pilate as the people cried out for Barabbas. Oh, how could his plan have back-fired?! I can see him looking confused first at the detestable Jesus Barrabas and then almost apologetically as Jesus the Christ.
Here we stand almost 2000 years after this event and still we are asked the same question. Who do you want? God stands before us and gives us a choice. “Surley they will chose my Son the Son of Man, the One who is Faultless.” And he asks; “Which one will you have, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus the Christ?” Which will you have, that which will destroy you or that which will save you? That which you know will only seek to take from you or that which will only seek to give to you? Who will you have? Barabbas or Christ?
As like 2000 years ago I can see God’s pained face as in chorus we cry out the name of Barabbas! Give us Barabbas! WE WANT Barabbas!!!
The first time I truly understood this passage was when I saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ”. As we were going to the theater my friends and I were talking about the controversy surrounding the film. We talked about how crazy it was that movies like Nightmare on Elm St. or Friday the 13th could come into theaters and be greeted by many happy viewers with little or no fuss about their content. But, when a movie that accurately portrays the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ comes out people try to stop it before it ever even arrives and before they ever even view it themselves they cry:
“Barabbas. We want Barabbas!”
Time and time again we answer wrongly. Time after time we look at the murderer and cry yes we want him. We call out for that which will destroy us, and we reject that which will restore us. We want Barabbas, give us Barabbas. Give us the thief and crucify the Christ!
When we ignore the hurting and hungry. We choose Barabbas.
When we take that which God has given and use it for our own purposes.
When we refuse to listen to God’s Word.
When we take that which is evil over that which is Holy.