“Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people,14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”  [a] 18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)” Luke 23.13-19
Today’s a cold day in Texas. We are under a hard freeze warning in the hill country. For some parts of the nation this would be nothing to write home about. But for us, in Texas, snow and ice make the news. It’s all people are talking about on social media, the TV and in communications with each other. We seem obsessed with this nasty weather.
The one thing the Jews could not stop talking about was Jesus. And not in a good way! He was now under the arrest of Pilate, then Herod, and now Pilate again who frankly, saw no reason to hold him. ”He has done nothing to deserve death,” Pilate retorts. But the crowd was not taking “no” for an answer. The chief priests, rulers and general population all shouted back at Pilate, ”Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.”
Now as we know, Luke says it in v.19, Barabbas was in prison for murder and for causing a revolt (insurrection) again the ruling class. The people would rather have someone released to them of whom they know, then Jesus who they do not understand. They could control Barabbas but Jesus was a different story all together.
This is just another movement in the crucifixion story of Jesus. Shouting crowds, unruly people, false accusations, innocence sentenced to death. Jesus up against the world, willing to die for our disobedience, and us wanting him to.
It was all people were talking about — they were deadly serious, seeking to send Jesus to death. They finally had control, a leg up, leverage in which to destroy the man they did not understand and most secretly feared. And so as we will hear soon enough, the crowds call for his crucifixion. Possibly the worst type of death known to man.
The weather is chilly today but nothing like the freezing hearts sending the Lamb of God to his death. The ice on the roads is not unlike those Jesus’ accusers two thousand years ago who sent him to the cross.
“Crucify him,” they shouted, and released a murderer in his stead…
For the sins of the world
He went without a fight
No words from his mouth
No power from his hands
No resistance or insurrection
Only submission. And silence. And death.
“O Lord God, I pause to consider your sacrifice. To realize your loss was our gain. Our sin became your shame. Many of those who sent you to death would later benefit from your passion. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your grace and love. Cause me to turn from my calloused heart to a heart of flesh, that I might know your love and feel your warmth inside my spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen