April 4, 2022

Jesus Faces the Governor
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor.  “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus answered, “You have said it.”   12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.  13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” 14 But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.  Jesus or Barabbas 15 At the festival the governor’s custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.  17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Messiah?”  18 For he knew they had handed Him over because of envy.   19 While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!”  20 The chief priests and the elders, however, persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to execute Jesus. 21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” “Barabbas!” they answered.  22 Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?”  They all answered, “Crucify Him!”  23 Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”  But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more.24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  See to it yourselves!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Mocked by the Military
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him.  28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe.  29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
Crucified Between Two Criminals
 32 As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced this man to carry His cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place), 34 they gave Him wine mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. 37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’ ” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.
The Death of Jesus
 45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”  48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!” 50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

Kim Ivey
 If you’re like me, you’ve read this account many times, or at least heard many sermons and lessons based on this account, from all different angles. And yet as I read it this time, a thought comes to mind. Have you ever heard, “who are we in this story?” I have- and the answer at the time was the crowd demanding Jesus’ death. They were blind to who He was, they didn’t understand. As I read this time, though, I see myself in a different character – Barabbas. Who was Barabbas? Luke 23 tells us that he was a criminal, a murderer. He was the worst of sinners, a horrible person. And on that day, either he was going to be crucified, or Jesus. We just read the eye-witness account of what happened – Jesus stood silent as Barabbas was released and took the punishment meant for a criminal upon Himself. Barabbas didn’t ask Him to. He didn’t beg forgiveness of his sins. But Jesus did it anyway. Jesus died for my sins, for your sins. We didn’t ask Him to. He did it out of the purest love for us, knowing that He is our only hope.


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