Who are you? What do people think? What do you want?

Who are you? What do people think? What do you want?

Mark 15: 1-15

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied. The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.


Who are you?

The guilty one?

Barabbas was in prison for being a rebel, maybe even a rebel leader against the Roman authorities. Maybe that is why the crowd called for his release, he was their hero perhaps? Barabbas was facing a death sentence for sure. He was guilty and Jesus was innocent. The gospel writers all agree in contrasting the innocent Jesus with the guilty Barabbas. Jesus came and Barabbas was set free. We know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Barabbas should have been on the cross but he was set free. We should be condemned but we are also set free into a life of no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We are guilty but Jesus took our place.

What do people think of you?

The crowd-pleaser?

Pilate is portrayed by Mark as someone who is pro-Jesus. He realises that the charges against Jesus are ludicrous and that he is innocent. He is not like Herod or certainly not like the Pharisees nevertheless, Pilate’s character is shown as being weak and his decisions are blowing in the wind, gaining favour is more important than good decisions. He wanted to satisfy the crowd. He wanted to be well-liked, a people-pleaser and thought well of. How many ‘likes’ on facebook is certainly not the concern of a leader who wants to do what God wants him to do. Pilate wouldn’t go against the norm of what people wanted and failed.

What do you want?

The follower of an easy Jesus?

According to Matthew (26 v 17) Barabbas’ full name is Jesus Barabbas. Saviour (Jesus) son of the father (Bar abba = Barabbas). So before us in this amazing story are 2 Saviours who are sons of the father. But there is only one Saviour and only one Son of the Father. The crowd choose the easy option and they still do. Not liking the Jesus of Nazareth that was being portrayed to them, they choose an easier option. Jesus of Nazareth will disappoint our pre-conceived ideas of what he can do for us and what is expected from us. We cannot follow that Jesus, so we create a different Jesus in our mind, one that isn’t too costly for us, not as demanding. We want a Jesus who is a rebel not a Jesus who surrenders and submits.

You may wonder if you are more like Barabbas, or Pilate or the crowd today. What is true is the questions can often reveal where we are.

Who are you?

What do people think of you?

What do you want?

If these 3 questions become all-consuming then it can lead to a place of guilt.

The truth is we have been all 3 and we are so grateful today for the Saviour, Son of Almighty Father, who went to the cross for us.

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