Want to make a blockbuster hit? Just get a strong, swashbuckling hero who for God and country will rise up against tyranny. In movies like Braveheart and The Patriot, Mel Gibson played this character and made millions. But it all depends on our point of view when it comes to who are the good guys and the bad guys.
For example, in Braveheart the blue-faced William Wallace is a hero if you’re a Scot. If you’re British, he’s guilty of high treason. In The Patriot Benjamin Martin, a widower with seven children, is a freedom fighter, but if you’re in London and devoted to King George, he’s a rebel. Both movies are pure fiction, but the roar of the crowd demanding the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus was not make believe.
Why did the crowd scream for Jesus to die while they called for Barabbas, a murderer, to be released?
“But in unison they cried out, ‘Take this one away, and release to us Barabbas. (Now Barabbas had been thrown in prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder.} Again Pilate addressed the crowd wanting to release Jesus. But they cried out more intensely, ‘Crucify, Crucify him!” Again a third time Pilate tried to convince them, ‘For what? What evil has he done? I’ve found nothing worthy of death in him. Therefore I will discipline him with a whipping and release him.’” Luke 23:18-23
Instead of rising up against the Romans, like Barabbas, and taking the lives of a Roman or two in the insurrection, Jesus remained silent and took the murderer’s place and died so that he could walk out of prison free.
From Cain’s anger and murder of Abel, his brother, to David taking the life of his lover’s husband, to Barabbas, the rebel and murderer, God doesn’t stand up and applaud their murderous violence. Instead, He allows His Son to take the rejection from the crowd and take the punishment that a murderer deserves.
It’s too easy for me to cry out with the crowd for Barabbas, but I must I get down on my knees before the pure, innocent Jesus and thank Him eternally for dying so that I could be released and set free.
LORD, help me to live in this Story as Luke moves us to the Calvary climax. Help me open up to Your Spirit as He roots out the anger that can lead to murder in my own heart. Thanks that Jesus took the penalty so that, like Barabbas, I can walk out of the prison of my sin.
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