John 19:12


". . . Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, 'If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.'"


Read that verse over again.  In fact, read it a couple of times.  You want to know something interesting, ironic even?  The man the crowd was asking for Pilate to release instead of Jesus was a guy named Barabbas, a known zealot.  The zealots were Jewish insurgents who were fighting against Roman rule in Israel.  They would have called themselves "freedom fighters."  The Romans would have called them "terrorists."  Their objective was to depose Herod, the king that Rome had appointed to rule over them, and to make so much trouble for the Romans that they would just give up trying to maintain order and leave.  In other words, they were asking Pilate to execute Jesus, who had said: “Give to Caesar whatever is Caesar’s,” and release a person who was an avowed enemy of Roman rule.  Crazy, right?  Nonsensical, right?  And yet, they kept shouting, "If you let Jesus go, (and execute Barabbas) you are no friend of Caesar."


My first reaction is to ask, "How could they have been so foolish?"  But Christians often make the mistake of expecting those who have not been born again to have spiritual understanding; they expect them to have good sense and make reasonable decisions.  But you know what?  They not only don't, they can't.  There was no way the Jewish mob that clamored for Pilate to crucify Jesus and free Barabbas could understand the reality of what they were asking.  But it wasn't a lack of information that kept them from it, it was a lack of revelation.  They were up to their necks in the cosmic struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between Christ and antichrist; and they didn't even know it.  You see, as Paul wrote, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."  


Friends, in the end, the world will be divided between those who follow Christ and those who are antichrist.  Between those who belong to Jesus - who have put their faith in Him, who have been born  again, and who have the Spirit in their hearts as God's seal of ownership - and those whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world.  Friends, understanding this just reminds us once again how urgent it is for the church to boldly raise the banner of Christ and how important it is for the followers of Jesus to have His armor to protect us, His mighty power to enable us, and His Word to guide us.  The mob is once again gathering to try to silence the voice of the author of life.  But be encouraged, the Word of God tells us how that will end . . .  "These will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." -- Rev. 17:14


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!


--- Pastor Keith Andrews