Response To A Reader's Comment
A reader posted a comment to one of my blog entries, Unwavering Integrity - The Unchangeable Law. She made some interesting comments, but one phrase jumped off the page. It began, “If they understand Christ and why the Jews killed Him and chose to release Barabbas…” I think that I understand the reader's meaning in the context of the comment, but some might see this as an antisemitic statement. I thought that more detail would be appropriate to clarify my understanding of what really happened.
Jesus was crucified and killed by Romans who were acting under the orders of their superiors who were enforcing their own power and dominion within the world system. The "political correctness" of the time chose to appease the will of the Jewish "ruling class" to maintain order and dominance in their position as rulers over the Jews. Jesus was not physically killed by the Jews.
The political hierarchy of the time, governed by the want for prestige, power and control is what led to the death of Jesus. Those in charge could not deal with the humility required to submit to God and His plan, which has been the constant struggle of all of humankind since the fall of Adam.
Pilate had determined that Jesus was without guilt and offered his release as a gesture of good will toward the Jews. In honor of the Passover feast, Pilate offered them a choice to release Jesus or Barabbas. The individuals who were in charge made the political decision to reject God's Christ to further their own personal agenda and maintain their power. Hoping the death of Jesus would silence the voice of God through Him, they preferred the release of the criminal Barabbas, a thief and murderer.
Barabbas means “son of the (human) father.” Jesus is the “Son of God (The Father).” Some historical texts record the complete name of Barabbas as Jesus Barabbas. If this is the case, when Pilate presented the choice to the crowd whipped up by the ruling Jewish leaders, he offered to free Jesus Barabbas- “Son of a human Father” or Jesus the Messiah “Son of The Father God.”
The choice of raucous crowd was clear, but most certainly reflected the planning of God. God knew the political climate and He knew exactly what He was doing. He arranged the appearance of Jesus at such a time that the political condition of the world would play into His plan. God drew in the world system to rise up and kill His innocent Son so that His Blood could cleanse the sin of all humans who would believe. Abraham had offered his son, Isaac, to God some 1900 years earlier, creating a legal precedence through his obedience. As a result, God could offer Jesus as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of all mankind. The Jews did not kill Jesus, it was God’s plan. His plan was never about getting the Jews or anyone else to accept Jesus and live happily ever after. The plan was created at the beginning, even before Adam sinned, as the way to bring humans that desired God into His presence for eternity.
In a stunning piece of irony, those of the world system actually chose God’s plan without even knowing what they were doing. Barabbas truly represented everything that is base about humans. In the physical world he represented sin. He was a criminal, a thief and a murderer. His carnal nature is what the rulers chose, because they were just like him. Pilate offered to spare one prisoner. He offered a choice between Barabbas and Jesus the Messiah. Just as God had known, they chose their own nature rather than God’s nature. Satan thought that he had God in his grip and was crushing His plan, but Satan was blinded by his own ambition as well.
God kept the plan hidden so that the unGodly, non-spiritual world would not catch on. He hid the plan in a mystery. Who would have guessed that God loved the human race so much that He would allow a part of Himself to become human, suffer at the hands of other humans and ultimately be killed by those He loved and wanted to save from their own destruction. Read this passage from I Corinthians and hear the words with a spiritually tuned mind.
1 Corinthians 2:4-16
…I spoke my message with a show of spiritual power so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on God's power.
However, we do use wisdom to speak to those who are mature. It is a wisdom that doesn't belong to this world or to the rulers of this world who are in power today and gone tomorrow. We speak about the mystery of God's wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. Not one of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of glory. But as Scripture says:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined
the things that God has prepared for those who love him."
God has revealed those things to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, especially the deep things of God. After all, who knows everything about a person except that person's own spirit? In the same way, no one has known everything about God except God's Spirit. Now, we didn't receive the spirit that belongs to the world. Instead, we received the Spirit who comes from God so that we could know the things which God has freely given us. We don't speak about these things using teachings that are based on intellectual arguments like people do. Instead, we use the Spirit's teachings. We explain spiritual things to those who have the Spirit.
A person who isn't spiritual doesn't accept the teachings of God's Spirit. He thinks they're nonsense. He can't understand them because a person must be spiritual to evaluate them. Spiritual people evaluate everything but are subject to no one's evaluation.
"Who has known the mind of the Lord so that he can teach him?" However, we have the mind of Christ.
(from GOD'S WORD Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.)
The choice to demand the death of Jesus, The Christ, was exactly what God had planned. Humans had proven that they were incapable of being obedient to the Law and could not “earn” their way into the favor of God. The sin of Adam condemned all of humankind to eternal death which is separation from God. But God engineered His plan to use His only Son, Jesus, as a perpetual sacrifice, a death substitute, so that those who would believe in Him would be saved from death and enjoy everlasting life in God’s presence.
God was victorious and Barabbas was the first beneficiary of the work of Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus died in a direct exchange for the life of Barabbas. There is no indication as to whether Barabbas changed his ways after his brush with death. He still had to make a choice as to whether or not he would accept the sacrifice of Jesus for himself.
You have that choice to make yourself. Jesus died for you. It is up to you to accept Him.
May God richly bless you in all that you do! - Dr Rich Masek
I invite you to read Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem - The Character and Nature of God to learn more about God's plan for your life.
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