THERE'S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
An insurrection is an open rebellion against an authority or government. Those involved engage in willful disobedience and a refusal to maintain law and order. Pilate knew how to turn a protest into an insurrection. He had to be shrewd in calculating his response to Jewish uprisings in his territory. Some of his good friends had been executed. Rome was quick to execute any government leaders accused or suspected of treason. Political enemies were either murdered or were executed on fraudulent charges. They held elections, but only candidates they approved of could run for office.
Pilate had to quiet this insurrection as soon as possible or he might be the next politician executed. During one insurrection, the people were mad because he had taken some money from the Jewish Temple and used it to build an aqueduct. Flavius Josephus was a Jewish priest, scholar and historian. According to Josephus, Pilate had Roman soldiers dress as Jews and hide clubs under their garments. As the insurrection continued, a signal was given for the disguised guards to beat people. Many were wounded, some were killed and a multitude were arrested. Among those who were arrested were folks who were innocent and folks who were guilty. A guy named Barabbas was charged with murder.
Barabbas was a bad dude who fought against Rome. The Jewish leaders were afraid of a teacher named Jesus. If you don't know the story, He was healing people and teaching folks to turn the other cheek. He was about love and mercy. Jesus was a threat to the hypocritical religious laws of the ruling Pharisees. They were portraying Jesus as an insurrectionary to the Roman authorities who was more dangerous than Barabbas. Both Pilate and the Jewish leaders were trying to protect their political base and control of power.
To gain favor with the people he oppressed, Pilate had instituted a yearly custom of granting clemency to a prisoner. A large crowd had gathered as Pilate sat in his judgement seat. He brought out Barabbas and Jesus and asked the crowd which one they wanted released. The chief priests and elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released. Eventually Jesus was crucified - at the urging of the people.
Methinks Pilate knew that crucifying Jesus would calm the storm of insurrection in his city. Little did he know that the insurrection would lead to a crucifixion and then a Resurrection. If you're not familiar with that story. Jesus died for a purpose. You can read about it in John 3:16."For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
DAY EIGHT WORD
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
Mark 15:7 KJV
Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him.
Jesus answered, “You have said it.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.
Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?”
But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
At the festival the governor’s custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Messiah?” For he knew they had handed Him over because of envy.
While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!”
The chief priests and the elders, however, persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to execute Jesus. The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
“Barabbas!” they answered.
Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?”
They all answered, “Crucify Him!”
Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”
But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more.
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”
All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
DAY EIGHT PRAYER
God we admit to our own insurrection in Your kingdom. We've rebelled against Your authority. Instead of obeying your perfect rules, we've gone our own selfish ways. Forgive us God. Make us new in Your grace. mercy and love.
DAY EIGHT DEEP THOUGHTS
The picture above was found by some young people on a mission trip to the inner-city of Buffalo, NY. The cross is made from old clothes pins with a beer can ring top affixed to the back. They were part of a Christian Youth Group and were gutting an old liquor store as a first step in creating a mission home for folks in need. They found the cross on a wall upstairs and presented it to me. I cried, overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness and how God can reach young people through clothespins in an abandoned liquor store.
It's been broken for awhile. I want to fix it, but I'm hesitating because I think there's a message in the brokenness. They didn't break any of Jesus' bones on the cross, they didn't have to. The Holy Spirit gave me a message along time ago during one of the darkest times of my life. He said, "Through brokenness, you're given a greater capacity to love."
There are many broken relationships in the world around us. There is no new type of brokenness under the sun. Death, divorce, disease or the divisiveness of a country; the only answer is the Love of God.