Bible Lesson about Easter – Matthew 27:11-26
In this Bible study of the first Easter we see the trial of Jesus before Pilate.
When Pilate sends Jesus to be crucified he does not do it willingly as we’ll see in Scripture.
We also see how Pilate comes to the decision to let the crowd decide what to do with Him.
They decided to release Barabbas and have Christ crucified.
Crucify Jesus or Barabbas? Pilate Sends Jesus to be Crucified
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer.
Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”
And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.
At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.
While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.
But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
And they said, “Barabbas.”
Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
They all said, “Crucify Him!”
And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. – Matthew 27:11-26
Pilot Washes His Hands and Barabbas is Spared – Jesus is Convicted
Pilate, a true politician?
Not to try to make a political statement but Pilate seemed more concerned about what his decision would mean in terms of his reputation with the people than he was about acting justly.
In other words, he was afraid of the crowd.
The Role of Barabbas
The other side of this story is Barabbas. He was guilty of the very crime Jesus was accused of; leading a rebellion against the Roman government.
This points to Barabbas actually becoming a hero to the Jews.
Once they realized Jesus was not the one to overthrow the rule of the Romans as many thought on Palm Sunday, He fell out of favor with the people.
Add this to the priests and religious leaders accusing Him of blasphemy and there is a lethal combination to create a mob.
The stage was set. Crowds are fickle and mobs seldom make the right decisions so they called for the release of Barabbas and the death of the Christ.
Barabbas is Redeemed
Barabbas was likely to be crucified if he had not been released to the Jews.
In essence, this means that Jesus literally died for Barabbas’ crime.
What about Us?
Just as Christ died in the place of Barabbas, He died for us on the cross and took on our sins (crimes against God) at Calvary. On the third day, He rose again.
And, 2,000 years later His Spirit still lives within Christians all over the world who accept Him as Savior.
This Easter, let’s celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Christ, our Lord, for what He did so that we might live.
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