Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more,
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Mark 15:6-15
Pilate’s instincts serve him well as he suspects the chief priests are motivated by envy. The root word, φθόνον (phthonon) is translated as envy (also be rendered grudge or spite), and its root word means decay, breaking down, or corrupted. Like many generations of humanity going back to the Garden, the urge to be envious is a motivation that ultimately leads to decay, break down or corruption of the relationship with the Divine. Pilate’s suspicions are correct, but this situation is exactly how God chose to fix the covenant relationship forever!
Another interesting note is about the criminal Barabbas. The religious leaders incite the mob to call for the release of this murderous insurrectionist against Rome. Barabbas translates as “son of a father,” and he becomes an interesting trade-off for the one who is the true Son of the Father!
Finally, Pilate questions Jesus’ guilt but consents to the mob’s calls for the destruction of Jesus. So Pilate has Jesus flogged, a punishment in itself that could kill a man, and then hands him over to be crucified.
Imagine what the chief priests could do if they had access to social media? Oh, I forget myself; we do. It’s now called CANCEL CULTURE!
What the heck are we doing to ourselves?! We have allowed for decay, breakdown, and corruption in our lives over time that we don’t even see it. Please help us find grace and peace instead of vile anger and destruction of a person(s). There is a way back through you, for we need to hear your words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
I pray this in the name of the One who was not cancelled by his culture. Amen!