When Jesus was on trial, Pilate found no evil in Him. Pilate, acting on the custom of the time, offered to release Jesus or Barabbas. The people chose Barabbas even though he was clearly guilty and Jesus was innocent.
The point made is typically about justice and people-pleasing and how dumb the people in Jesus’ day were. However, there’s another point lurking here, which may mean something.
One must be careful not to overanalyze Scripture and make it say things it does not say. At the same time, there are many passages of Scripture interpreted by other passages of Scripture that let you know there are deeper meanings we miss. However, speculation is no basis for doctrine.
There’s a point laying here that seems to fit with other biblical statements.
What was the evil that Barabbas was guilty of? John 18:40 says he was a robber. Luke 23:19 says he was guilty of sedition and murder. Mark 15:7 says he committed murder and insurrection. Mathew simply says he was a “notable prisoner.”
Barabbas apparently stole stuff and killed someone during an insurrection. Insurrection is sometimes called sedition in the Bible. Both mean trying to overthrow the government.
So, here’s the buried point: People prefer a violent political agitator to the King of Kings suffering and humbly and quietly giving His life to serve people.
We like violence and intrigue. We enjoy some political wrangling, taking sides, and party factions. We don’t mind a little rioting and killing if it’s for the right cause.
What we don’t like is meekness, service, and humility.
Power is demonstrated by violence in our world. Jesus Christ exercises His supreme power by being a suffering servant to save undeserving sinners.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we enjoy the idea of a suffering servant doing the nasty work for our benefit! But when it comes to us and “our guys,” well, we like to see some power play action.
One of the main reasons Israel did not recognize their Messiah is because they thought he was going to overthrow the bad guys, wipe out the occupiers, take over the government, and restore Israel to glory. It was all about power, violence, and political wins, not some mamby-pamby meek dying stuff.
We can bring this down to the church today: who do you hear talked about with more fervor: Joe Biden and Donald Trump, or Jesus Christ?
Want to get immediate reactions out of people? Bring up the big name politician of the day. For em or against em, people will have an emotional reaction. Our society is overrun with violence and anger and political wrangling. We can’t get enough.
People choose political agitators over Jesus regularly; this wasn’t a one-off incident with Barabbas. I’ve warned Christians for years about getting too involved in politics. This has been met with confusion, dismissal, or outright hostility. Rarely has it ever been met with consideration.
People inherently think government is the solution to our problems. In reality, government is creating most of our problems. The true answer to our ills is faith in the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Until we start promoting our King more than the latest political supposed messiah, we will lose and decline into gross sin.
“Put not your trust in princes” the Bible warns.
“Nah, we’ll be fine” we insist.
We are slow to learn. Guess we’ll have to keep learning the hard way over and over and over again.
Choose Christ over political actors. It’s hard to do because you’ll be lonely, but it’s the answer.