Making A Difference In The Nation's Capital Through Prayer And Action

Day 5: The Choice

Mar 31, 2021

Countdown to the Resurrection

The Most Important Choice of All

 

 “Give us Barabbas!”

Those haunting words, screamed by the raging mob at the trial of Jesus before Pilate, echo through the centuries and remind us today of the consequences of our choices.

Too often, it seems, our national leaders seem grossly unaware of the impact their choices can have on those touched by their decisions. At this very moment, just days before Easter, members of the U.S. Senate are debating the so-called “Equality Act”—a terrible piece of legislation that advances the most radical LGBTQ agenda in our nation’s history. This disastrous legislation is the greatest threat to our religious freedom we’ve ever witnessed on Capitol Hill.

Less than one week prior to Jesus’ trial, masses of people welcomed Him as He rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. They shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” It wasn't long before these same crowds were screaming for blood and calling for His execution.

As human beings, we can all be like that.

In Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, news of Caesar’s assassination had traveled throughout Rome. Anxious crowds gather in the streets, uncertain of what might happen next. Marcus Brutus, a friend of Caesar’s who was actually one of his assassins, goes out to the concerned crowds and explains why Caesar’s death was necessary. “He was ambitious, and that ambition was turning him into a tyrant,” claimed Brutus! After the speech, the crowd celebrates and praises Brutus.

Moments later, after Brutus left the scene, Marc Antony walks out to the crowd carrying the blood-stained body of Caesar. The crowd gasps at the sight, and Antony breaks out into a celebration of Caesar’s love for Rome and a rebuke of Brutus. This speech begins with the famous words, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” After Antony finishes, the people mourn the loss of Caesar, and enraged at Brutus, they cry out for justice.

At the trial of Jesus, Pilate offered to follow a tradition of releasing a prisoner as a gesture of mercy in recognition of the Jewish Passover. The choice was clear. Would it be Barabbas, a known murderer and insurrectionist, or Jesus, a man in whom Pilate could find no fault?

Interestingly, the name Barabbas literally means “son of the father,” making the choice even more stark. Will you choose this false son of the father or the true Son of God?

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matt. 27:20-23).

It’s difficult to comprehend how in only a few days the crowd shifts from joyful proclamations of “Hosanna” to enraged screams of “Crucify him!” Why the change? What made the difference? Why did they choose Barabbas?

It was the power and passion of words. The chief priests and the elders “persuaded” the multitudes.

The leaders excited the crowds with their cries for the crucifixion, and a mob mentality took over. Over this last year, we’ve all been reminded of what happens, tragically, with a mob mentality. People will do things they might never do on their own.

And the results are always tragic.

“So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).

Of course, we understand that the crucifixion of Jesus was part of God’s divine redemptive plan. Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

But that does not relieve the crowds from the consequences of their actions. It never does.

The fact that people may have gotten caught up in the emotions of the moment does not mean those who cried out for the death of Jesus, or those who burned buildings and destroyed businesses in 2020 over the so-called “summer of love,” or those who violently assaulted the U.S. Capitol in 2021, breaking windows and destroying property should not face the consequences of their actions.

Jesus knew that. Listen to His mournful prophecy regarding Jerusalem:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate (Luke 13:34-35a).

For the people of Israel who rejected their Messiah, the consequences of their decision were devastating—literally, the destruction of Jerusalem. Anytime a nation or a people reject righteousness and embrace rebellion against God, the results are tragic.

Proverbs 14:34 states, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Choices have consequences, both for individuals and for nations.

As individuals, each of us must make a decision in light of this question: What will you do with Jesus? Believe in Him and receive Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior, and you are saved. Reject Him and you condemn yourself.

And what about the nation? If we as a nation pursue the Lord and His righteousness, we are exalted. But if we reject Him and His purposes, we are condemned. If we as a nation embrace the “Equality Act” and “normalize” the most radical agenda of the LGBTQ community, the consequences for future generations of Americans will be devastating.

That’s why as your missionaries to Washington, D.C., we are working tirelessly to convince our leaders to reject the “Equality Act” and uphold biblical models of sexuality, marriage and the family. Members of our team are continuously monitoring the Senate as they debate this pernicious legislation. We are literally working day and night to make certain our leaders make the right decision and reject any legislation that justifies or legitimizes sin. Every day we work hard to bring the Word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of our public policy makers.

But we can only do that because of your faithful prayers and generosity.

Please stand with us again by making the most generous gift possible this Easter season. Thank you!

May all of God’s very best be yours!

 


Faith & Liberty is an evangelistic ministry, taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation's top elected and appointed officials. Our mission is simple: To bring the Word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of those that make public policy in America. We rely on your support to accomplish this important ministry. Thank you for your generosity.


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