Did the religious leaders know that what they were doing was wrong? That is the question, but there is way more to this story than simply choosing Barabbas over Jesus.
If you’re not familiar with this story, in Mark 15:1-15 the religious leaders of the day brought Jesus to Pilate (the Roman judge) and pleaded their case why Jesus should be put to death.
Every time I read this story I never really understood why. I thought, “Wow these people are so evil they’re trying to kill an innocent man just out of jealousy!”
The question is why?
The religious leaders (priests, elders and scribes) were threatened by Jesus. Jesus completely changed the way people viewed the religious texts that these leaders made their money and living off of people coming to them for spiritual advice.
(Thank God the only man we need to get to God through is Jesus now!)
Their way of life was being threatened by Jesus, and they went on the offensive out of fear.
1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.
2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it.
3 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.Mark 15:1-3 KJV
Did the religious leaders know they were doing the wrong thing?
We have to remember that before Jesus purchased us Salvation from sin and brought us back into relationship with God, our spirits were spiritually dead. That means that they didn’t bear witness with us.
That means we did our own thing!
If you’ve ever read the book of Judges you know, that everyman doing what’s right in his own eyes didn’t really “work out”.
25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.Judges 21:25 NIV
The death (spiritual separation from God) of their spirits meant they didn’t know what they were doing.
They knew on the surface. They had an idea because of what the Laws of God say, but everything was head knowledge it wasn’t heart knowledge.
The “my truth” people were those who crucified Jesus.
They did what they believed was right according to their own opinions and not what God had to say about the subject.
The religious leaders were protecting “their way of life”
They had the but we’ve always done it this way mentality. These religious leaders were blind in their hearts. How do I know this? Because Jesus said…
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.Luke 23:34 KJV
They were being dominated by the voices of spiritual principalities and powers; pawns in a fight that they had literally no knowledge of.
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJV
The “princes of this world” are the evil spirits and their knowledge of what was going on was limited. This was “hidden wisdom”.
It says nothing about the religious leaders because they were just operating out of fear.
Where in my life am I acting as they acted with Jesus?
The Lord challenged me as I read these verses to not act as these religious leaders did. Is there a spot in my life where I have bound the hands of Jesus and refuse to change my ways?
These leaders wanted to prove Jesus wrong. They time and again would try to trap Him in His words and prove that what He was saying wouldn’t work.
Ask yourself as I am currently writing this, “Am I binding the hands of Jesus in my life?” Is there a place that I’m resisting change because I think I know better.
Don’t you know? Jesus asked me to tithe / give?
Maybe you’re sitting here saying, “I can’t believe it. Jesus just doesn’t understand. I’ve always used this money for _____ and now he wants me to give 10% of it away!”
Don’t you know? Jesus asked me to forgive?
Maybe you’re saying, “I can’t forgive that person! They did ____ to me!”
Jesus wants you to forgive not for them but for yourself. As long as you harbor that towards them, they have power over you.
Don’t’ you know? Jesus asked me to (_____)?
What is that thing you or I are resisting Jesus in?
Is Jesus your King?
2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it.Mark 15:2 KJV
Don’t just be as these Jews were. Jesus came riding on a donkey a few days before and everyone claimed “All hail king Jesus”, but then when it really got down to it… they weren’t there.
Jesus answered Pilate and said, “Thou sayest it”
Why? Because the Jews weren’t acting like it at all.
As we go out today, let’s remember that we are ambassadors for Christ as Christians.
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