November 10, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Monday after the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 63, 64, Leviticus 19:1-18, Philippians 1:1-11
Evening – Psalm 56, 57, Dt. 10:12, Mt. 27:11-26

Commentary, Matthew 27:11-26

Jesus’ lack of defense before Pilate further emphasizes His clear intent to go to the cross (vs.14).  Jesus intentionally embraces the cross.  That much is evident in this passage.

The choice of Barabbas is the choice of a worldly revolutionary over the Heavenly Saviour.  Barabbas claims to be the Messiah, and has killed people in an attempt to gather a following to fight against the Romans.  Rather than delivering Israel, Barabbas goes to jail and is scheduled for crucifixion.  Pilate offers Israel a choice, Pilate or Jesus.

The choice is Barabbas.  The logic in this choice is easily discerned.  Men like Barabbas were common in Israel.  Claiming to be the Messiah they gathered a crowd of followers and killed a few Romans.  The Romans responded by crucifying Jews.  This continuing battle did not interrupt the position or the prosperity of the religious leaders in Jerusalem.  But Jesus was different.  His target did not seem to be the Romans.  The religious leaders were His target, and they hated Him for that.  So they chose the revolutionary man over the Heavenly Saviour.

Lest we judge them too harshly let us ask ourselves if we do no make the same choice regularly today.  Do we not often follow those who promise (usually falsely) worldly peace and affluence over the One who promises spiritual blessings?  Do we not choose the promise of indulgence over the demand for self control?  Do we not choose those who offer a crown over the One who offers a cross?  And in so doing, aren’t we, spiritually calling with the enemies of Christ, “Let him be crucified”?

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