What Jesus Did! 'Crucify Him!' — Matthew 27:15-22

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Every year at the Passover time the governor would free one person from the prison. This was always a person that the people wanted to be made free. At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas. All the people gathered at Pilate's house. Pilate asked the people, "I will free one man for you. Which man do you want me to free: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ ?" Pilate knew that the people gave Jesus to him because the people were jealous. Pilate said these things while he was sitting in the place for judging. While he was sitting there, his wife sent a message to him. The message said, "Don't do anything with that man (Jesus). He is not guilty. And today I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much." But the leading priests and older Jewish leaders told the people to ask for Barabbas to be made free and for Jesus to be killed. Pilate said, "I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which do you want me to make free for you?" The people answered, "Barabbas!" Pilate asked, "So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?" All the people answered, "Kill him on a cross!"
— Matthew 27:15-22
Illustration of Matthew 27:15-22 — "Kill him on a cross!"

Key Thought

"This is an innocent man." Unfortunately innocence and guilt will not be the basis of Pilate's decision. He is a politician and has political concerns that are more important to him than innocence and guilt. He knew the Jewish leaders' motivations and ambitions. Jesus' apparent powerlessness made him expendable. With no disciples or friends there to plead Jesus' case, he is doomed. In a political fight, you need numbers. All of Jesus' friends had forsaken him and fled except for a handful of women. But the issue of innocence and guilt is magnified when Jesus' opponents ask for a murderer to be released in Jesus' place. Not only is Jesus innocent, he will be sentenced to death and a murderer will go free. Pilate uses the crowd's input as a way of giving them what they want. They ask for Jesus to be crucified, a punishment reserved for the scum of criminals. The only justice served in this mess, is God's. He uses Jesus' death to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Today's Prayer

Holy and loving God, the travesty of Jesus' crucifixion strikes me fresh again as I read this account of his mistreatment. I can clearly see the injustice he faced as he died for sin. But what most profoundly humbles me, your perfect son died for my sins, he was executed in my place. Thank you for this grace and please forgive me for the times I have not lived with passion and grace because of this tremendous sacrifice. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus stood before Pilate the governor. Pilate asked him questions. He said, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Yes, I am." When the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders accused Jesus, he said nothing. So Pilate said to Jesus, "You hear these people accusing you of all these things. Why don't you answer?" But Jesus said nothing to answer Pilate. Pilate was very surprised at this. Every year at the Passover time the governor would free one person from the prison. This was always a person that the people wanted to be made free. At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas. All the people gathered at Pilate's house. Pilate asked the people, "I will free one man for you. Which man do you want me to free: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ ?" Pilate knew that the people gave Jesus to him because the people were jealous. Pilate said these things while he was sitting in the place for judging. While he was sitting there, his wife sent a message to him. The message said, "Don't do anything with that man (Jesus). He is not guilty. And today I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much." But the leading priests and older Jewish leaders told the people to ask for Barabbas to be made free and for Jesus to be killed. Pilate said, "I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which do you want me to make free for you?" The people answered, "Barabbas!" Pilate asked, "So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?" All the people answered, "Kill him on a cross!" Pilate asked, "Why do you want me to kill him? What wrong has he done?" But all the people shouted louder, "Kill him on a cross!" Pilate saw that he could do nothing to make the people change. And he saw that the people were becoming upset. So Pilate took some water and washed his hands so that all the people could see. Then Pilate said, "I am not guilty of this man's death. You are the ones that are doing it!" All the people answered, "We will be responsible for his death. We accept for ourselves and for our children any punishment for his death." Then Pilate freed Barabbas. Pilate told some soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then Pilate gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

Matthew 27:11-26

Every year at the Passover time the governor would free one person from the prison. He would free any person the people wanted him to free. At that time, there was a man named Barabbas in prison. He was in prison with the rebels. These rebels were guilty of murder during a riot. The people came to Pilate and asked him to free a prisoner like he always did. Pilate asked the people, "Do you want me to free the king of the Jews?" Pilate knew that the leading priests had given Jesus to him because they were jealous of Jesus. But the leading priests persuaded the people to ask Pilate to free Barabbas, not Jesus.

Mark 15:6-11

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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.