6 Now it was the custom at the Festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. 13 "Crucify him!" they shouted. 14 "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Thoughts: Human injustice and fairness is here in so many ways. Barabbas was a rebel and a murderer. Christ was the Creator and innocent. The crowds were fickle. Gone were the ones who shouted "Hosanna" and now the praise had faded to a cry for torture. The cross was reserved for slaves and rebels not for the King of kings. To put our trust in human justice and courts- expecting them to not be corrupt or fickle would be folly. Yet Jesus did not even now rebel against the authorities. Jesus did not teach us to rebel, but rather to submit to the ultimate authority- God Himself.
Prayer: Lord, give me grace to put my life and reputation in your hands. Let me be true to you and the truth as Christ was- even when fairness and justice seem lost.
Calvin abridged: Pilate chose Barabbas who was very wicked in order that the people might be shamed into releasing Christ. Yet even this did not satisfy the cruelty of those who wanted Christ dead. In God's providence, there can be no doubt how low Christ was placed- below a robber and murderer. Christ was sunk into the depths of ignominy in order that he might be lifted above the glory of the angels- and we with him.