Eternal Reflection – “The Prisoner” (Part 2) by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
John 19:12-16 (KJV) “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.”
The names of only a scant few of the spectators that were present and witnessed the trial and crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ are recorded in Scripture. Following is a possible “Eternal Reflection” of one who witnessed the “Passion of the Christ” firsthand…
You are mighty right, I lived up to my name – “son of the father!” Where men feared my father, they feared me double. Where men respected my father, they held me in higher esteem. They did not do this because of my father, I earned it on my own!
I “earned” their fear and respect the day I avenged my father’s death. My father’s closest friend betrayed him by working with the Romans to arrest my father. BUT, my father would not give in without a fight. Regardless of my being an adult, I still respected when my father said, “Step aside!” Those were the last words I heard my father say as we entered the gate of the city that day.
I “stepped aside,” and observed as my father’s closest friend approached him with a big smile and a pat of his back. Suddenly, the Romans, that were standing amidst the crowd, threw off their common cloaks and swarmed around my father. My father killed three of the Romans before they brought him down. I watched my father’s closest friend slink away believing he had gone unnoticed. I noticed!
My father taught me another important principle – “The savor of revenge is richer when it is cold.” My father’s men, now my men, looked to me to avenge his death. Because I did not take vengeance immediately, they assumed I was weak. After I killed my father’s closest friend, his family, and the nearest kin in the city, they never questioned my leadership. I was given double fear and respect!
I “ran’ the dark side of the city! I controlled every pick-pocket, prostitute, pimp, and purveyor of provocation in the territory. I was unstoppable UNTIL someone close to me betrayed me. Now, I’m sitting in Pilate’s prison awaiting my execution! Two of my men were taken with me. They are scheduled to be crucified with me. The only reason they didn’t “give-me-up,” is because they are not sure I won’t escape and take vengeance on them like I’m known to be able!
What is all the noise is going on outside? Who is this Jesus of Nazareth? I’ve heard a lot of stories about this man, but I’ve never met him. Funny though, we bear the same first name – “Jesus!” I heard he is a very influential leader. It that is true, there is only one way he could have been arrested – he must have been betrayed!
Before being in this prison, I would have thought that this Jesus must have been foolish to get caught. But, I don’t think I was foolish! I should have not allowed myself to get close to anyone. My father did, and it cost him his life. It appears the same “mistake” is going to cost me mine!
Oh brother!!! Did I hear correctly? Did Pilate just call Jesus “King of the Jews?” You’ve got to be kidding me! I wish he were our King! I’ve fought against this Roman rule since the day my father allowed me to follow him. Now, they are saying, “We have no king but Caesar!”
“LET ME OUT!!!!” No one is paying attention to anything I’m saying. They are so afraid of me, they won’t let anyone share a prison cell with me! I will NOT let anyone know that I’ve never felt so alone as I do right now! Oh well, it’s time to face the cardinal rule of my life – “No Second Chances!”
I’ll climb on this stool and look out the cell window. What? Is THAT Jesus of Nazareth? They have him dressed up like a king – crown of thorns, purple robe, a reed for a scepter, and the Romans are kneeling in front of him, laughing at him. He doesn’t look like a king to me!
What? Did I hear Pilate correctly? Did he just say, “I find no fault in this man?” Wow! Poor guy! I’ve been trying to tell everyone that the Romans are corrupt!!
What? I don’t believe it! Pilate just said, “It’s our custom, to celebrate Caesar’s magnanimity in recognizing your Passover Feast, by releasing a prisoner of your choice. Who will you choose? Jesus Barabbas (son of the father) or Jesus (Son of The Father)?”
“Thank You, God!” (Did I just thank God?) I knew the people feared and respected me – they chose for me to be released! Poor schmuck! I KNOW I deserve to be crucified, but he’s going to take my place! Oh well, that’s just the way it goes! Now, I can’t wait to see the look of my “betrayer’s” face when I confront him. It would be better for him to take his own life than to let me do it!
Amazing! I never thought I’d see the day when I would get a “Second Chance!”
Some manuscripts refer to Barabbas (Bar-Abbas = son of father) as Jesus Barabbas. While it is very possible and probable, there is no adequate Scriptural evidence to verify this.
The release of Barabbas from rightful condemnation relates to the story of every believer. Every believer stands guilty before God; for we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Through no effort or ability of our own, and with no justification on our part, God sent His Son to die in our place. Because of Jesus, the Son of the Father’s death, we can go free.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”