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  • # 224 A Hard Choice?

    Some soldiers, instigated by demons, put a purple robe on Jesus after they've beat him 39 times with leather thongs studded with bone. They make him a "crown" out of the thorn bush. They must have been desperate to lighten the stress of such obviously inappropriate treatment, so they mock him king, abusing him both physically and mentally.

    Pilate hopes the sight of this pale, bleeding, wounded, yet majestic being will wake up the mob shouting for his death; so he brings him out. The people cry for his crucifixion, a priest shouting, "He deserves death because he claimed to be the Son of God."

    Pilate is startled, and takes Jesus inside again, "Where are you from?"

    But Jesus doesn't answer. He's already told Pilate. He lets Spirit work.

    "Now you won't talk to me? I have power to crucify you or release you!"

    "You would have no power if it weren't given you from above. So those who brought me have a worse sin." Jesus is trying to arouse and strengthen Pilate.

    Pilate puts Jesus and Barabbas side by side before the people, certain the contrast alone will work justice. But he knows little about mob psychology, the passionate hatred of the priests, or contending with demons in human form.

    "Behold your king!" says Pilate.

    The contrast speaks eloquently; everyone is convicted of Jesus' divine identity. But Satan and frantic priests whip the crowd into fury, chanting "We want Barabbas!"

    "What then should I do with your Messiah?"

    "Crucify him!" They scream again and again.

    Matthew 27:15-22, Mark 15:12-13, Luke 23:18-21, John 19:2-11

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