Matthew 27:15-21 / Mark 15:6-11 / Luke 23:13-19 / John 18:38-40…
Imagine the scene here. Pilate, the Roman governor, was scrambling for a solution. The pressure was mounting to do something about Jesus. But He couldn’t find any fault with Jesus. He was suspicious of the motives of the Jewish leaders and the charges they were bringing against Jesus. He had sent Jesus away to Herod to be tried, but Herod had sent Him back.
The evidence of His innocence has also been mounting. Judas, His betrayer had declared Him innocent. Pilate knew of the fanfare that surrounded Jesus upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem only a few days before. Pilate himself thought that He was innocent. Pilate’s wife also thinks He is innocent. Only the chief priests and other religious leaders seem to be against Him.
Yet those religious leaders will not relent. They want blood. Pilate tries to pit the leaders against the people, offering up the notorious criminal Barabbas as a substitute. Surely the people wouldn’t let this menace loose again. But the leaders would rather let the devil run amok than let Jesus go, and they were master manipulators. They convince the people to let Barabbas go.
It is quite amazing to realize the malice that can be mustered within a mob. Still, most of us believe that we are beyond a mob mentality. We are more mature than that. But hanging around the wrong crowd begins to destroy the way, the will, the word and the worship of Jesus in your life (Psalm 1:1 / 1 Corinthians 15:33). The crowd we are in makes a difference.
Most of us probably don’t believe that we will ever have to make a decision between Jesus and Barabbas. But the truth is that we do it every day. Lots of little choices we make count for more than we may think. We think it will be so obvious, we think the choice will be easy, we think we are beyond the influence of the crowd.
But remember this; if you don’t believe that you can be deceived, that is when you already are.