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19. Choosing the right type of revolution

Bible readings: Matthew 27vs11-26; Mark 15vs1-15; Luke 23vs1-25; John 18vs28-19vs16.

My life (put) alongside God's word, volume 1.

All four gospels record our Lord Jesus on trial before the Roman governor, Pilate, during the last week of His life on earth. Please do

read Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:16.

Pilate wanted to release Jesus because he was unable to find any legal reason for His execution. His wife had disturbed sleep, Matthew 27:19. Pilate himself did not believe Jesus had committed any crime worthy of the death penalty, Mark 15:14; Luke 23:14, 22; John 18:38.

Our Lord was largely silent before His accusers, Matthew 27:14; Mark 15: 3-5; Luke 23:9. When He did speak, He only confirmed what was true, Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:34, 36, 37.

Jesus knew what was about to happen.

He would soon be

  • flogged, Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15

  • mocked, Luke 23:11

  • rejected, Mark 15:14; Luke 23:18

  • crucified until death, Matthew 27:22; Luke 23:23

  • buried, Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:52-53; John 19:38-42

Jesus shows us how to trust confidently in God while confronting awful hostility.

When Pilate offered the agitated mob the choice of having Barabbas or Jesus released to them, he unwittingly highlighted the choice all Christians have to make, in all of life’s circumstances.

1. Barabbas, was “a notorious prisoner”, Matthew 27:16. He “was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising”, Mark 15:7. [1]

“Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder”, Luke 23:19; “Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion”, John 18:40.

Barabbas reacted to the wrongs in life, to bad treatment by oppressive forces, with violence. When the Temple guard arrested Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus reminded His disciples that military weapons had no place in His kingdom,

Matthew 26:52-53; John 18:11.

It is often right to yield yourself to the powers of this world in order to serve the higher, invisible, mysterious and mighty power of God.

Pilate and Jesus spoke about power and authority in this world, Jn. 18:35-37, 19:10-11. Jesus recognised that Pilate’s position was merely a delegated authority – something given to him by God, Jn. 19:11. Pilate could only do what God allowed. Remember, this is true for any human power you or I must face.

2. Jesus was confident in His Father God. Jesus clearly knew His life’s purpose,

“for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world”, John 18:37. His kingdom was not about the awesome magnificence of a governor’s palace or large territorial domain. [2] Neither He nor His servants would fight for objects and issues that didn’t really matter to them, John 18:36. Jesus did not live for the things many of the people around Him craved after.

Jesus went almost immediately from Pilate to the cross. The incited mob bayed for His blood, Mark 15:11-15. Without knowing it, the crowd were helping Jesus to fulfil His life’s calling. Jesus was bringing the kingdom of God to earth in a mystical and transcendental way. Rome’s power was being invisibly surpassed. The carpenter from Nazareth left a greater impact than the Roman military machine. The Roman Empire has long since vanished.

The cross of Christ is still transforming lives worldwide!

Jesus is bringing the kingdom of God to earth in a mystical and transcendental way. Obvious human powers seeking to dominate our lives are not what they appear to be. They try to oppress us by fear. They may have military prowess, huge state machinery and seemingly limitless resources.

Yet our deliverance comes through faith – God’s gift of our personal faith, deliberately placed in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We may have to follow our Lord through death. We don’t want to start fighting back in the world’s way. By His grace we will choose not to do so.

I know that when the crowds around us are shouting for a different choice, it is extremely difficult to stand alone against the flow. On that day back in Jerusalem could you have shouted, “I want Jesus and His way – I do not want Barabbas”? Would you have?

Later, Paul the preacher knew this battle and made his own choice. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”, Galatians 6:14.

Discussion questions:

1. How was Jesus standing trial before Pilate an example of Romans 13:1-7?

2. What are the differences between “submission” and “rebellion”?

3. Who are we to “submit” to?

4. In John 19:33-38, what was Jesus’ defence before Pilate?

5. Put parts of vv36-37 into your own words, for your own life circumstances.

[1] An insurrection is an act of rebellion against a government. [2] Territory is any tract of land under the rule of a political power


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