Morning Bible Study
Next week we will be hosting the live webcast of Harvest America.
The “pre-concert” starts at 4:30, the actual event is 5-7pm.
We are now at the end of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus is hours from being crucified.
Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:
(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son
of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
He would do this by dying for our sins.
We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on the previous Sunday, Palm Sunday, to
the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.
On the following Thursday night, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His
disciples before taking them back to spend the night at the Garden of
Judas showed up with a group of Jewish leaders and soldiers.
They took Jesus to the high priest’s house, and then early on Friday
morning Jesus was put on trial before the Sanhedrin.
The high priest has declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy because He was
claiming to be the Messiah.
Then Jesus was taken to Pilate because they needed his condemnation of
Jesus in order for Jesus to be put to death.
When Pilate couldn’t find anything wrong with Jesus, he sent Him to Herod,
and when Herod couldn’t find anything wrong, Jesus was sent back to Pilate.
23:13-25 Pilate Trial #2
:13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers,
and the people,
:14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the
people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found
no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;
:15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing
deserving of death has been done by Him.
:13 the chief priests, the rulers, and the people
At this point, the crowd isn’t just made up of chief priests and leaders,
but now includes ordinary people as well.
People like you and me.
There’s a song we sing that has a line that goes, “Ashamed I hear my
mocking voice, call out among the scoffers”
:14 I have found no fault in this Man
Between all the time Jesus has spent with Pilate and Herod, Pilate has
concluded that Jesus hasn’t done anything deserving of death.
He was innocent
The Old Testament lays out the principle of substitutionary sacrifice.
One life may pay for the sins of another life.
Yet for the sacrifice to be acceptable, it had to be “without blemish”
(Lev. 1:3), as a picture of an innocent life taking the place of a guilty life.
Jesus was eligible to be a sacrifice for the sins of others.
If Jesus had done something worthy of death, then when He died, He would
have been dying to pay for His own sins.
Since He was innocent, He could die to pay for the sins of others.
Jesus was not just a perfect sacrifice, He was also the priest presenting
NKJV) —26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the
heavens; 27 who does not
need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own
sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up
:16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him”
:17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
:17 necessary for him to release one to them
Some of your translations don’t have verse 17 because of a difference in
some of the Greek manuscripts, but don’t worry, the point expressed here is
found in all the other gospels (Mat. 27:15; Mark 15:6; John 18:39)
(John 18:39 NKJV) “But you
have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you
therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
This custom was meant to give the Roman rulers the appearance of being
merciful by releasing one prisoner who was condemned to die.
:18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and
release to us Barabbas”—
:19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the
city, and for murder.
:18 release to us Barabbas
“son of a father”
It’s an interesting name. In a way,
it could apply to any man, since we are all sons of our fathers.
Luke tells us that Barabbas was part of a rebellion, and had committed
Mark tells us that Barabbas was part of a movement of rebels, and had been in
chains with other rebels. (Mark 15:7)
John called Barabbas a “robber” (lestes)
Mark recorded that when Jesus was crucified, there were two others
crucified at the same time, also called “robbers” (lestes) (Mark 15:27)
Josephus uses the same term (lestes)
to describe some who were part of the Jewish rebellion at that time.
Could it be that the two men crucified with Jesus were part of the same band
of rebels that Barabbas belonged to and they had all been chained together in
prison and scheduled to die together?
Matthew tells us that Barabbas had quite the reputation, that he was a
“notorious prisoner”. (Mat. 27:16)
The word for “notorious” could carry a positive sense as if he was a famous
rebel, like Luke Skywalker.
It could also carry a negative sense, as a notorious gangster.
The Romans considered Barabbas a “terrorist”.
Some of the Jews would have considered him a “patriot”.
Yet for whatever reasons he did what he was imprisoned for, he was a
He was a thief and a murderer.
:20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.
:21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
:20 wishing to release Jesus
If you were to ask Pilate what he really desired to do at this point, he
would tell you that he wanted to release Jesus.
Somewhere around this time, Pilate’s wife speaks up:
NKJV) While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him,
saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things
today in a dream because of Him.”
Church tradition says that Pilate’s wife was known as Claudia Procula. According to tradition she became a believer.
Even though she warned Pilate not to hurt Jesus, he would give in to the
pressures of the Jewish leaders.
:21 Crucify Him, crucify Him!
It hardly makes sense to us, to see Jesus coming into Jerusalem on the
previous Sunday with the crowd shouting “Hosanna”, and now on Friday morning
they are shouting “Crucify Him!”
Matthew tells us that there was a force motivating the crowd.
NKJV) But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they
should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
:22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I
have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him
:23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be
crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.
:23 they were insistent
were insistent –
epikeimai – be laid or placed upon;
metaph. of things, of the pressure of a violent tempest; of men, to press upon,
to be urgent
They put the pressure on Pilate.
John gives us one more argument the Jewish leaders made at this point:
(John 19:12 NKJV) From then on
Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this
Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks
If you recall our background briefing on Pilate from last week, Pilate was
quite concerned about his relationship to Caesar.
Pilate had been appointed governor in AD 26 by the Emperor Tiberius.
To impress the emperor, Pilate had tried to place images of Tiberius in
Jerusalem – and the Jews rebelled.
To impress the emperor, Pilate had tried to put shields with the emperor’s
name in the palace of Herod – and the Jews rebelled.
And now they pressure Pilate where’s he’s most vulnerable – his
relationship with the emperor.
:24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested.
:24 Pilate gave sentence
This is judicial language. Pilate rules that Jesus is to be put to death.
:24 that it should be as they requested
There are a string of related words in our passage that don’t make the same
impact in English as they do in Greek. They are all based on the same root word
Pilate could find no “fault” (v.14) in Jesus.
Pilate had no “reason” (v.22) to put Jesus to death.
The Jews were “demanding” (v.23) and “requested” (v.24, 25), all this to
give Pilate the “fault” he was looking for to condemn Jesus.
Owning your choices
One of the hardest things to do in life is to admit that I’ve done wrong.
It’s much easier to just make excuses.
Sometimes we would like to close our eyes and pretend that there are no
consequences for the choices we make.
Pilate was like that.
NKJV) When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that
a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the
multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to
Pilate thought he could be free from guilt by simply
“washing his hands”. Yet he would face
the rest of his life knowing that he had condemned an innocent person to
He had condemned the King of the Jews to death.
I’ve known people who have done some pretty nasty things in their life.
Often those same dirty deeds affect those around them.
Yet rather than owning up to their own bad choices, they continue to blame everything
and everyone around them.
Like the man who gets violent with his wife, but then
either blames the alcohol he’s drinking, or blames the wife claiming she
You can try to wash your hands by blaming others, but
you’re never going to see your life turn around until you recognize you are to
The Bible says,
NKJV) He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever
confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
James taught that the road to healing and change is tied to learning to
admit our sins to others.
(James 5:16 NKJV) Confess your
trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
:25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and
murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
:25 but he delivered Jesus to their will
Mark tells us what Pilate did after this.
(Mark 15:15 NKJV) So Pilate,
wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered
Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
Jesus had already been beaten with fists, but this takes it to a whole
The Romans scourged their prisoners with a device called a “flagrum”. It was a handle with long leather straps of
various lengths attached. Imbedded in
the straps were jagged pieces of bone and lead.
The purpose of the flagrum was to open up the skin and turn a person’s back
Eusebius, a third-century historian writes: “The sufferer’s veins were laid
bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to
If the cross was about paying for our sins, why did Jesus
have to be scourged as well?
For our healing
Isaiah prophesied about what Jesus would go through.
NKJV) —5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for
our iniquities; The
chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like
sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us
The “stripes” refer to the marks of scourging.
healed – rapha’
– to heal, make healthful.
Some take this in a strictly spiritual sense, that God has
healed us spiritually through Jesus, and that is correct.
Yet the Hebrew word is one primarily used to speak of
Peter took Isaiah’s prophecy this way:
(1 Peter 2:24–25
NKJV) —24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we,
having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were
healed. 25 For you were
like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of
Again, the New Testament word “healed” (iaomai) can speak of both spiritual
salvation as well as physical healing.
Jesus’ scourging has provided two things for us:
1) He’s made physical healing available to us.
2) It’s a motivation for us to get our lives back on track
and live for righteousness, to “return” to God.
James instructs what to do if you need physical healing:
NKJV) —13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the
church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the
Lord. 15 And the
prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he
has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one
another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous
man avails much.
It’s not that you don’t go to your doctor, but how about
asking God to heal you?
It’s been on my heart lately for us to specifically be
praying for the sick among us.
At the end of the service, we will have prayer teams up
front who will anoint you with oil and ask God for His healing.
Healing is can be complicated in that God does not heal
every person every time.
But He has made it possible for us to be healed this way,
and He’s commanded us to pray for the sick.
:25 he released to them the one they requested
Pilate released Barabbas, a man condemned for rebellion and murder.
He took my place
In a way, Barrabas is a picture of each one of us.
I see myself in Barrabas’ name. I
too am just “a son of a father”.
Like Barabbas, I too am a sinner.
(Romans 3:23 NKJV) for all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Each one of us faces
death for our sins.
Like Barabbas, Jesus died in my place.
Paul would later write about the great exchange that took place on the
(2 Corinthians 5:21
NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our
sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
God took our sins and placed them on Jesus, who had not
God then took the righteousness of Jesus and put it on us
in exchange for our sin.
Because of what Jesus did for me, I now face a choice.
I can go on with my life as usual and eventually face death for my sins, or
I can turn from my sin, and ask Jesus to forgive me.
If I will believe in Jesus, I will receive a new life, eternal life.
Are you like Barabbas?
Do you need God’s forgiveness?
Jesus died in your place as well.