2/13 Mark 15:15

15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Pilate had a tradition of releasing one prisoner of the people's choosing at Passover. He thought he could get out of this dilemma of having to order the death of someone who was a stick in the eye of the priests by offering to release Jesus. After all, it was only a few days earlier that the crowds had welcomed Him as Savior. But the priests had already urged the people to ask for Barabbas. The name means "son of the father." How ironic that Jesus was delivered up for one with such a name! Barabbas was an insurrectionist and murderer (Luke 23:25). The crowd had the opportunity to choose between the healing teacher who promoted a change of the heart and a man who wanted to use physical force to overthrow the Romans. They chose the latter.

How often do we face the same decision? We can forgive our enemies, or we can try to get even. We can love that family member who insults us, or we can shun him or her. It is a choice between God's way or our way. Our options are the flesh or the Spirit. The choice we make testifies to the condition of our hearts.

The choice that day in Jerusalem to ask for Barabbas ended four decades later in the overthrow of the entire Jewish worship system. Their glorious temple was leveled. The Jews were even banned from entering Jerusalem. But what is much worse, they had rejected the One who could lead them to what they claimed they desired. They claimed to want to understand the Scriptures. With the rejection of Jesus, that opportunity was gone for the majority of the Jews for millennia (John 5:39).

Consider: Nearly every day we are faced with choices between the flesh and the Spirit, the temporal and the eternal, God's way and man's. Choose wisely! The consequences of your choices can affect your entire life and that of others as well.