The appalling human injustice of Pilate knowingly sentencing an innocent man to death in the place of a guilty one subserved God's great and just purpose of freeing us from our deserved condemnation through the substitution of Christ.
In history's greatest miscarriage of justice - committed by the people who had the Law - Jesus is brought before Pilate. Pilate does his best to avoid making a decision that will anger Caesar, or provoke a riot by the Jews. Pilate releases Barabbas and sentences Christ Jesus to the cross, thus fulfilling God's plan.
Barabbas is mentioned in all four Gospels, and by name more than even Judas. By God's sovereign plan to provide salvation through His Son's crucifixion by man's will, He also gives us a vivid illustration of penal substitutionary atonement that will save!In this 3rd of 4 sermons on Christ before Pilate, we will see the sinless Son of the Father change places with a vile dishonoring son of a father, literally dying in Barabbas's place on a cross meant for Barabbas! The Innocent taking the punishment the guilty deserved, while the guilty counted innocent and set free. We--the sinner--need to identify with Barabbas before we can identify with Jesus.
I. Pilate's Proposition (Mt 27:15-18)
---A. The Practice
---B. The Prisoner
---C. The Proposal
II. Unseen Influences (Mt 27:19-20)
---A. Upon Pilate
---B. Upon the Crowd
III. "In My Place Condemned He Stood" (Mt 27:21-23)
---A. Release the Guilty
---B. Crucify the Innocent
IV. "Sealed My Pardon With His Blood" Mt 27:24-26)
---A. Cannot be Cleansed
---B. Cleanses or Condemns
Truly, this was the Son of God. In this short meditation on Christ's death, we think of the choice - Jesus or Barabbas - the cross, and the confession of the Roman Centurion. The Son of God, for us and for our salvation.
In our study, it is sunrise but a very dark, illegal trial of Jesus continues as he stands before Pilate then Herod and then Pilate, again. He will die for crimes he did not commit, paying for sins He did not commit in order to saves lost sinners.
The Jewish Sanhedrin bring Jesus to Pilate on the charge that He claims to be "the King of the Jews." On Sunday of this same week, Jesus was hailed as Israel's Messiah! But now He's suddenly rejected, and our text shows some of the reasons behind this tragic rejection.
Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate for judgment. Pilate, being backed further into a corner, offers to punish Jesus and set Him free. The crowd responds in unison, "Take this man away and give us Barabbas." So, Jesus, who had been falsely accused of insurrection, was traded for an actual insurrectionist. Listen to learn the details surrounding these events, including how God used this, the greatest tragedy, to bring about the greatest gift.
Because Christ is heaven's true King who is innocent of any crime and the very embodiment of Truth, we must not fail to hear and believe what He says and place our trust fully in Him.
I. Jesus Stands Accused as a Criminal vv 28-32
II. Jesus Stands Revealed as Heaven's True King vv 33-38a
III. Jesus Stands Acquitted of Any Crime, yet is rejected by those who refuse to believe vv 38b-40
As our Lord returns to Pilate for the conclusion of the Roman trial, the bloodlust of the Sanhedrin rises, and with it the popular appetite for Christ's crucifixion. Luke reminds us of the accusation made against him, draws repeated attention to the declaration concerning his innocence, shows the original intention to release Jesus as being not guilty, portrays the desperation of the Jews to crucify him, and records Pilate's sorry capitulation to this vengeful hatred. Woven through the story of Christ's wrongful conviction is his own conviction to follow this dreadful path for the sake of his people, with a striking echo of substitution that runs through the whole.
What is it about the natural human heart that prefers someone like Barabbas to Jesus? If we don't know the answer to that question, we'll miss one of the most important messages of the whole book of Mark. And when it comes to a choice, we'll make the wrong decision too.