In Roman circles only one person was called “Lord” and “Savior.” That person was Caesar. Only one person was believed to be the Son of God and God incarnate—again Caesar. Caesar, the great Prince of Peace brought peace through strength and war. Jesus purposely lived his life in opposition to Caesar and all the authorities who selfishly ruled by demonstrations of strength. The true King, Lord, Savior, Son of God and Prince of Peace ushered in God’s kingdom and peace through the power of love.
The people on that first Good Friday were faced with a choice. They could ask for Barabbas to be released. Barabbas was a murderer and insurrectionist. He lived by the use of power to control and destroy. The other alternative for the people was to ask for Jesus to be spared from execution. Jesus lived by the power of love and used that love to transform lives. The people chose to go with the status quo. They chose Barabbas.
Every day in our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ we are faced with the choice of using the power of brute force or expressing the power of love. Brute force might be more expeditious. Love might need to be expressed with more creativity and may take longer to accomplish its goal. Who do we choose today, Barabbas or Jesus?
Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.