"What then should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify Him!"
I. BARABBAS WAS PREFERRED TO CHRIST.
1. An indication of the people's hatred to Christ. There is no reason to think that Barabbas was a popular hero. His insurrection was covered with the ignominy of failure, and his patriotism was stained with the lawlessness of brigandage. Yet he was chosen and Christ rejected. So intense was the passion of hate in the mob under the influence of their unprincipled leaders in the Jewish hierarchy! It is strange that any could hate the gracious Christ; and yet, since he was the deadly enemy of all sin, he provoked the opposition of sinners. A person who clings to his sin will come in his heart to what is virtually a hatred of Christ.
2. A sign of the people's blindness to the merits of Christ. The wickedness of hypocritical rulers was the driving force behind the fury of the mob; with many of the unthinking multitude there was doubtless no great antipathy to our Lord until this had been roused by malignant agitators. But the people did not perceive the attractions of Christ, or they would not have preferred Barabbas. The leaders were wicked, the people were blind. It is possible to be in very close external contact with Christ, and yet not to know him.
II. BARABBAS WAS SPARED INSTEAD OF CHRIST. This was not fair or reasonable, for Barabbas was guilty and Christ was innocent. Nevertheless, the unjust thing was done. This is typical of another substitution. Sinners are spared and Christ is crucified. That too would be monstrously unjust if our Lord himself had taken no part in the transaction. We can never see the bare outline of the atonement even till we perceive Christ's own free action in the matter. Though the substitution of Jesus for Barabbas is suggestive of Christ's great sacrifice for mankind, the cases are not parallel, because our Lord gave himself up for the world's redemption. What is unjust and wrong in those who slay him does not affect the right of the Saviour to surrender himself; and it is in this voluntary giving up of himself that the atonement, as a part of the Divine economy of redemption, is just and right. In conclusion, let us remember that we may be in danger of sinning like the people who preferred Barabbas to Christ, when we are tempted to sacrifice our Lord's claims to any earthly considerations. Money, pleasure, self-will, may be our Barabbas, chosen to be saved though Christ is renounced. - W.F.A.
What shall I do then with Jesus?"
(T. T. Shore, M. A.)
I. You can let Him stand without a word of recognition. But surely your sense of common courtesy will not allow that.
II. You can thrust Him back from your heart, and tell Him to stand aside. But surely you will not. Even Pilate treated Him better than that.
III. You can look on Him merely as an optician to help blind eyes, or an aurist to retune deaf ears, a friend, a good friend, a helpful companion, a cheerful passenger on shipboard. Yet what good will all that do you? Surely He is something more.
IV. You can take Him into your heart. That is the best thing you can do with Him, and the only safe thing. Trust Him. Love Him. What more could He do, than He has done, for you?
(T. de Witt Talmage, D. D.)
(T. de Witt Talmage, D. D.)I. SOME KIND OF ANSWER MUST BE GIVEN TO THIS QUESTION.
1. It cannot be evaded. You must answer it.
2. Jesus Christ is offered to you as a means of salvation, etc., and you are free to accept or reject; but one of these two things you must do.
3. We know how Pilate answered this question.
4. This is the great question of the age.
5. It is a personal question.
II. CONSIDER SOME OF THE ANSWERS THAT have been given to this question.
1. Some answer it by placing themselves in direct opposition to Christ, they give it a bold negative, they deny His Divinity, His gospel, and His claims.
2. Others give an answer that seems more respectful: they say, "Probably His claims are well founded; but association with Him would involve separation from friends and pursuits we love — we will do without Him," etc.
3. Others give a somewhat imposing reply, but think they need not be too intimate with Him, etc.
4. Others admit His claims but delay their decision.
5. Others accept Him as their Guide and Saviour, etc.
III. THE ANSWER GOD EXPECTS US TO GIVE. Welcome Him to our hearts. Love Him supremely. Obey Him fully. Serve Him faithfully and constantly.
(D. L. Moody).
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