Join the Revolution
It was after sundown, so already the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan in the year 31 AD. Jesus is arrested by the Jewish leaders. The motive: envy or jealousy (Matthew 27:18). The accusation: He is a revolutionary causing a disturbance or revolt (Luke 23:14).
Then there’s this other guy, Barabbas. He, too, was arrested and put in jail for being a revolutionary and causing a revolt against the Roman government. In the process of so doing, he killed someone, so now he is a revolutionary and a murderer (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19).
What is the difference between these two revolutionaries? The One brought a revolution of change into a broken society, by healing the sick and raising the dead, by restoring broken relationships and offering eternal hope to a helpless, conquered nation (Luke 4:18-19). This was too much for the envious religious leadership of His day to take. This exposed their deepest hypocrisy and threatened to lessen their credibility and control over their people.
The other revolutionary was probably a hero in the sight of the religious and political leadership of the Jews, because he dared to stand up against the might of Rome. He revolted against the Roman yoke of government, and was therefore to be commended for his bravery. In the minds of the leadership of the day, it was more important to be freed from a temporal ruling power than to be freed from the pernicious power of sin and its devastating, eternal consequences.
Two revolutionaries – one a hero in the sight of man, the Other a victim of man’s envy and jealousy. The one a murderer, the Other a healer and giver of life. How sad and short-sighted when man’s values are so messed up and self-serving that he is blind to his own happiness and well-being. It makes me think of Paul who says that only a spiritually-minded person can understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14). If I allow the natural worldly values of society (that I get from the media) to influence and control my decisions, then I too will join the mob mentality of this age and shout, “Away with him, crucify him!” (John 19:15).
As you and I contemplate the passion of our Lord during this month, are you going to join the revolution? Which one?
PS: It’s interesting to note that when Pilate found Jesus to be innocent and undeserving of death, the religious leadership themselves caused a riot (the same thing they were accusing Jesus of) in order to force Pilate’s hand in acquiescing to their demands (Matthew 17:24-26).