After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. John 18:38b-40
When the Roman governor of a region thinks a person is not guilty they must really be not guilty. Pilate saw something in Jesus that caused him to be concerned about putting Jesus to death. Most likely it was the authority in Jesus’ voice when he spoke but what every it was Pilate knew that Jesus was not a guilty man.
Pilate will try everything he can to free Jesus. In today’s verses we see Pilate using the custom of freeing one Jewish prisoner at Passover. So Pilate gives the Jews a choice, Jesus their King or Barabbas. John calls Barabbas a robber but he was much more than that. Barabbas was a leader is the Jewish insurrection against Rome. He was most likely a murderer and was a big contrast to Jesus a man of peace. So that is the choice Pilate gave them, a criminal a man of the sword or Jesus a man without sin, a man of words and healing.
But the Jewish authorities are so intent on killing Jesus that they incite the crowd to call for the release of Barabbas. They would rather see a murderer and robber go free then let Jesus go. So much hate for a man who was teaching the Word of God.
Things have not changed today. Jesus still brings out hatred in those who oppose Him. They can no longer kill Jesus but they can persecute and kill His followers. All across the globe we see churches being looted and burned. We see Christians being beaten and murdered. Their only crime, telling others about Jesus. Loving others so much that they will risk their own lives to save others for all eternity.
And here in the West we do not usually have to worry about our churches being burned or being killed for our beliefs but many have been arrested for speaking their beliefs, it is called hate speech by others. And if we post something on the internet we run the risk of profane responses by people who do not believe in Jesus. Still, all things considered a minor price to pay to help one person see the truth that is Jesus.
Have a blessed day,