"JESUS OR BARABBAS"
Intro. It is hard to go against what your heart is telling you is right. Not only did Pilate know that Jesus was innocent and that justice demanded that the innocent man go free. He had been warned by his wife to have nothing to do with that Just Man. He knew that the charges being made against Jesus were false, and that it was because of their envy of Jesus that they had brought Him to trial. Many times the pressure of the crowd is more than we can bare, and we find ourselves doing things we really do not want to do.
I. THIS IS THE SITUATION THAT PILATE THE ROMAN JUDGE FOUND HIMSELF IN.
A. The crowd was crying for the crucifixion of an innocent man. Does he follow his conscience and Roman justice and let the man go free, or will he capitulate to the crowd, and order an innocent man to death?
1. He decided upon a compromise, he would give the crowd the choice between Jesus and the notorious prisoner named Barabbas, who was a murderer.
2. When the crowd cried for the release of Barabbas, he asked, "What shall I then do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" They cried, "Let Him be Crucified." He responded, "Why? What evil has He done?" The crowd just cried louder, "Let Him be crucified." And the voices of the crowd prevailed.
3. He then tried to elude the responsibility of his cowardly capitulation to the pressure of the crowd, and ordered a basin of water to be brought and before the crowd washed his hands declaring his innocency of this man's blood.
4. Surely not knowing what they were saying the crowd responded "His blood be upon us and upon our children."
a. When they were driving the spikes through the hands of Jesus, He prayed, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
b. Here it could be said, "They know not what they say."
B. The question "What shall I do with this Man Jesus who is called the Messiah?" is one that cannot be evaded, nor can you wash your hands from the responsibility of the consequences for the decision that you make.
C. Though the question was asked by a Roman judge almost 2000 years ago, it is question that you must deal with and answer for yourself today.
II. BEFORE WE ANSWER THE QUESTION, LET US TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS MAN WHO WAS ACCUSED OF CLAIMING TO BE THE SON OF GOD, THE MESSIAH WHO WAS SENT BY GOD TO REDEEM THE WORLD FROM SIN.
A. We must recognize His unique place in history. History is divided by His birth. We refer to the B.C. and A.D.
B. When the officers who were sent out to arrest Him came back empty handed and were asked why they did not bring the prisoner, they answered, "Never a man has spoken like this man."
1. Never a man has lived like this man.
a. He healed the sick that were brought to Him.
b. He opened the eyes of the blind.
c. He unstopped deaf ears.
d. He made the lame to walk.
e. He brought the dead back to life.
f. He turned the water to wine.
g. He calmed the raging seas with a word.
h. He walked on the water.
2. Never a man made the claims that this man made.
a. He claimed to be the Son of God.
b. He claimed that His Father sent Him into this world
c. He claimed that no man could come to the Father but by Him.
d. He claimed that He was the resurrection and the life, and that if you lived and believed in Him you would have eternal life.
e. He claimed that He and the Father were One, and that if you had seen Him, you had seen the Father.
e. He claimed that no man would take His life from Him, but that He would give His life.
3. Never a man has died like this man.
a. As He said, He had power to lay His life down, and had the power to take it up again, so while He was there on the cross, we are told that He dismissed His Spirit, and the soldiers marveled at the fact that He was dead so soon.
b. When He died, the sun went dark at noon.
c. As He died there was a great earthquake, the rocks were split, and the veil of the temple was ripped from the top to the top to the bottom prompting the Roman soldiers to exclaim, "Truly this was the Son of God."
4. No man has risen from the dead as this Man.
a. He had predicted that in three days He would rise from the dead, and on the third day He arose from among the dead and appeared to His disciples on several occasions and in various circumstances over the period of almost forty days.
b. Luke tells us that He showed Himself alive after His death by many infallible proofs.
5. No man has changed so many lives for the better than this Man.
a. He has saved more marriages, healed more broken relationships than anyone else.
b. He has delivered more alcoholics, and drug addicts from their wasted lives than anyone else.
c. He has brought joy, peace, love and meaning for life, to millions of people.
d. He has inspired the building of hospitals, orphanages, and schools all over the world.
e. He has inspired people to man these facilities.
f. He has done more to alleviate suffering in this world, much of which has been caused by man's false religious notions, than any other person who has ever lived.
C. It is almost unthinkable that when man was given the choice of who they wanted released to live among them Jesus or the murderer Barabbas, that the people would choose Barabbas. That brings up then the question, "What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Messiah?"
III. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH HIM?
A. You can receive Him as your Lord.
1. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even as many as believed upon His name."
2. He that hath the Son hath life.
B. Or you can reject His lordship over your life.
1. He that hath not the Son hath not life.
2. You can trust your salvation and destiny to your good works.
C. You can believe in Him as your Lord and Savior.
1. That whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
2. He that believeth is not condemned.
3. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.
4. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.
5. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.
D. You can choose not to believe that He is the Son of God the Savior of the world who died for your sins.
1. He that believeth not shall be damned.
2. He that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
E. You can confess Him as your Lord.
1. For if thou shalt confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
2. Jesus said that if you would confess Him before men, He would confess you before His Father which was in heaven.
F. You can deny Him.
1. Jesus said that if you denied Him, He also would deny you.
2. Paul said, that if we denied Him, He would deny us.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
G. What you can't do is ignore Him. You cannot wash your hands of this man. Jesus said, "He that is not for Me is against Me."
1. Not to receive is to reject.
2. Not to believe is to disbelieve.
3. Not to confess is to deny.
4. In reality you have already taken your position, are you satisfied with it?