Friday, March 29, 2013

Devotional: John 18:40

“Give us Barabbas” (The Bible and its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture
Lessons, 1910), edited by Charles F. Horne and Julius A. Bewer (Wikipedia)
“Give us Jesus Barabbus, the murderer and insurrectionist!” cried the Jewish priests and people. How ridiculous does that sound? Only a few weeks earlier, the Sanhedrin had worried about what would become of them if Jesus of Nazareth were allowed to continue His ministry. No one wanted a repeat of what had happen years before: thousands of nationalistic Jews crucified under Publius Quinctilius Varus, the Roman governor of Syria. The high priest Joseph bar Caiaphas had made a strong case to the rest for ridding themselves of Jesus Christ: “It is better that one man should die for the Jewish people than have the whole nation destroyed.” Together, he and his allies sought and found the perfect opportunity to arrest Jesus Christ and convict Him in a show trial. Unfortunately they forgot that the trial with the Roman governor of Judea couldn’t be so well staged. Pilate wanted an accusation relevant to Roman law and supporting evidence. He offered the people multiple opportunities to choose justice. Instead, they demanded the release of a man notorious for the very crimes against the state that they feared would bring about Roman persecution. What would cause such suicide? Only a profound determination, in the face of all the evidence, to reject Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Christ. To them, that was worth risking everything.

This devotional was written as an assignment for Robert T. Davis’ course on “Johannine Literature,” which I am currently auditing at the Southern California School of Evangelism at Buena Park Church of Christ.