What Jesus Did! 'Choosing the Criminal over Christ' — John 18:39-40

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"But it is one of your customs for me to free one prisoner to you at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to free this 'king of the Jews'?" They yelled back, "No, not him! Let Barabbas go free!" (Barabbas was a rebel.)
— John 18:39-40
Illustration of John 18:39-40 — "But it is one of your customs for me to free one prisoner to you at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to free this 'king of the Jews'?"   ——   "No, not him! Let Barabbas go free!"

Key Thought

At first glance, we look at the choice made by the people on this horrible day and wonder how they could do it. However, when we take a long look at ourselves, we are struck by the many times we have chosen other things over Christ in our lives. In fact, that is what sin often is—choosing something we want over the will and the work of Jesus! So today, let's be humbled and reminded how fickle we can be. One day we are shouting hosannas and hallelujahs to Jesus and a week later we are choosing something totally opposite to Jesus. Let's not trade the Lordship of Christ in our lives for anything else, for that would be ... criminal!

Today's Prayer

Give me an undivided heart, O God, and help me follow my Lord Jesus Christ with passion and perseverance. Open my eyes to the many things that would distract me from my commitment to Christ. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then the guards took Jesus from Caiaphas' house to the {Roman governor's} palace. It was early in the morning. The Jews there would not go inside the palace. They did not want to make themselves unclean, because they wanted to eat the Passover meal. So Pilate went outside to the Jews. He asked, "What do you say this man has done wrong?" The Jews answered, "He is a bad man. That is why we brought him to you." Pilate said to the Jews, "You Jews take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jewish leaders answered, "But your law does not allow us to punish a person by killing him." (This happened so that what Jesus said about how he would die would be true.) Then Pilate went back inside the palace. Pilate called Jesus to him. He asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus said, "Is that your own question, or did other people tell you about me?" Pilate said, "I am not a Jew! It was your own people and their leading priests that brought you before me. What have you done wrong?" Jesus said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, then my servants would fight so that I would not be given to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place." Pilate said, "So you are a king!" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. That is true. I was born for this: to tell people about the truth. That is why I came into the world. And every person that belongs to the truth listens to me." Pilate said, "What is truth?" When Pilate said this, he went out to the Jewish leaders again. Pilate said to them, "I can find nothing to charge against this man. But it is one of your customs for me to free one prisoner to you at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to free this 'king of the Jews'?" They yelled back, "No, not him! Let Barabbas go free!" (Barabbas was a rebel.)

John 18:28-40

Related Scripture Readings

"Not every person that says that I am his Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. The only people that will enter the kingdom of heaven are those people that do the things that my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many people will say to me, 'You are our Lord! We spoke for you. And for you we forced out demons and did many miracles. ' Then I will tell those people clearly, 'Go away from me, you people that do wrong. I never knew you.'

Matthew 7:21-23

"Don't save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy treasures here on earth. And thieves can break into your house and steal the things you have. So save your treasure in heaven. The treasures in heaven cannot be destroyed by moths or rust. And thieves cannot break in and steal that treasure. Your heart will be where your treasure is. "How you look at other people makes you the kind of person you are. If you look at people and want to help them, you will be full of light (goodness). But if you look at people in a selfish way, you will be full of darkness (evil). And if the only light you have is really darkness, then you have the worst kind of darkness. "No person can serve two masters at the same time. He will hate one master and love the other master. Or he will follow one master and refuse to follow the other master. So you cannot serve God and Money at the same time.

Matthew 6:19-24

Come near to God and God will come near to you. You are sinners. So clean sin out of your lives. You are trying to follow God and the world at the same time. Make your thinking pure.

James 4:8

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.