Today’s Scripture: John 18:28-40
By: Dr. Joshua Stowe
“Give us Barabbas” (vs. 40). I have always been struck by these words. Who in their right minds would have chosen Barabbas over Jesus? Barabbas had taken part in an uprising (vs. 40). Jesus had spoken the truth, fed the masses, healed the sick, raised the dead, and brought near the kingdom of God. I know. It doesn’t make sense. Why would those gathered outside Pilate’s residence choose Barabbas over Jesus?
We could certainly pause here to explore the historical context and political climate of first century Judaea. We could talk about the militaristic expectations of messiah-ship during that time. We could discuss the intentional and unintentional tendencies of so many to preserve established power structures. We could consider multiple angles. We could dig and analyze, but I would invite us to something different today. I would invite us to consider how many times we have chosen something or someone over Jesus.
It’s easy to stand over another and pass judgement: “What were they thinking?” It is something altogether different to ask, “What was I thinking?”
The season of Lent is intended to be a time of reflection and self-examination. And although we are looking at the death of Jesus a week earlier than most, we are reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made. He laid down his life for us. In short, he chose us because he loves us (Rom. 5:8).
So as you and I go about our day, let us think about Jesus. Let us consider how we might chose him in love, just as he has chosen and loved us. Let us be careful to put Jesus first. Let us be cautious about following the crowd and choosing another.