Why Jesus Dying instead of Barabbas Matters! – John 18
Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ.
I love God's Word. I love reading it. I love seeing Jesus in it. This morning we are going to read from God's Word, make some observations, apply it text to our lives and then close in a word of prayer. We're looking at John chapter 18.
Let's hear the reading of God's word.
John 18 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
18 After Jesus had said these things, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. 2 Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am he,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed him, was also standing with them. 6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7 Then he asked them again, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8 “I told you I am he,” Jesus replied. “So if you’re looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the words he had said: “I have not lost one of those you have given me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” 12 Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they led him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be better for one man to die for the people. 15 Simon Peter was following Jesus, as was another disciple. That disciple was an acquaintance of the high priest; so he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. 16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not,” he said. 18 Now the servants and the officials had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself. 19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews congregate, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret. 21 Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officials standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” 23 “If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Peter denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed. 28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared. 32 They said this so that Jesus’s words might be fulfilled indicating what kind of death he was going to die. 33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?” 35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 “What is truth?” said Pilate. After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no grounds for charging him. 39 You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
Title: Why Jesus Dying instead of Barabbas Matters!
John chapter 18 starts off in a garden. In this Garden, we are presented with the Christ in control. It says in the text that he knew everything that was about to happen to him. Not only that, the Christ has all power, even these words, “I am he” strike the men that come to arrest him down. He's also in protective mode for his disciples. He says to the people who come to arrest him, “Let them go.”
John 18 now moves to the murder of Jesus Christ. I say murder because there was no trial. It was an absolute farce - a complete mockery! There were six stages presented in the gospel of the trial of Jesus Christ:
The first is with Annas in verse 12 through to verse 23. He was a former High Priest in the father-in-law of the current High Priest.
The the second movement in terms of the trial, is a trial with Caiaphas. We don't see it in this gospel as such, but it’s hinted at from verse 24-27. He's the current and ruling High Priest.
The third trial, is with the Sanhedrin convening of all the leaders of Israel. Every single time, they find Jesus Christ and guilty of blasphemy because he calls himself the Son of God and because he calls himself the Messiah. The trial now moves to a political angle as we have three political trials:
The first being was pilot, in verse 28-38, he's the Roman Governor. Pilate doesn't want to find Jesus guilty and can't find Jesus guilty.
And so he passes Jesus Christ on to Herod here. It is the puppet king of Rome over the Judean Countryside. Herod entertains Jesus for a while, can't find him guilty of anything and rather than take political responsibility for the action, passes him back to Pilate.
The third trial in from verse 39 to chapter 19:6. It is again with Pilate. And again, Jesus Christ is found not guilty. The political charge is that Jesus was forbidding people to pay taxes and that he was inciting people to rioting and that he was claiming to be King. At the end, Pilate turns Jesus Christ over to the Jews. The last scene in chapter 18, is that of Jesus and Barabbas. The details aren't filled in in complete and John's gospel. But it was customary at the Feast of the Passover for Pilate to give one prisoner clemency and Pilate gives the Jews an option. A high profile killer - a rebel rouser who was unquestionably guilty, or a teacher - Miracle Worker who is unquestionably innocent. The crowd bay's for Jesus blood.
How do we go about applying John chapter 18?
Think about this substitution between Jesus and Barabbas. Barabbas and Jesus, the guilty for the innocent, the innocent for the guilty. The guilty one going free, and the innocent one being punished. It's a picture of Salvation. Jesus Christ, the Spotless, pure, blemishless Lamb of God dies on a cross for your and my sins. We have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and the wages of our sin is death. But Jesus dies to satisfy the wrath of God that we too may go free. Our guilt is placed on his shoulders as he drinks the last dregs of the wrath of God. And his innocence is given to us as Royal Robes that we might stand before God righteous on that day.
Friend, you are to repent and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ that you might live.
If you're a seeker, I want you to see the power of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he says, “I am he” and an entire cohort of Roman Soldiers, battle-hardened men, along with Jewish officials and Judas Iscariot, fall flat as the Son of God declares who he is. If you are looking for God - seeker, if you are truly searching for him, find him in the person of Jesus Christ and live. Cast yourself upon him!
Are you a new convert wanting to apply John chapter 18 into your life? Listen to the words of Jesus Christ. In John chapter 18, as he speaks to Pontius Pilate and said, “My kingdom is a Heavenly Kingdom. It is not of this world.” It is a Lie from the devil when Prosperity Preachers say, “that it is God's will for you to be healthy, wealthy, and happy.” What they're really doing is selling the same lie that the devil has always sold man! A lust for the things of the eyes and for the things of the flesh, the things that the heart goes after. No friend! Jesus has a Heavenly Kingdom. It's a Kingdom which is extended as he comes into our hearts and as he rules and reigns from within one Christian after another, as the Church of Jesus Christ is built and been made fit for when Jesus comes again to rule and to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, and set up a Kingdom without end.
But don't put all your chips into this basket of earth because these things are perishable and they are passing away.
Are you a believer? If you are, take a look at the submissive disposition of Jesus Christ in this chapter to the will of God. Even as Peter slashes that hot Priest’s ear, Jesus Christ pauses him and remind him that he is submitted to the will of God - to drink the last dregs of the cup that the Father has given to him. Friend, that's the call on our lives - to submit to the will of the Father in everything, that he might be glorified in our lives even as we will one day glorify him forever in the life to come
Let's closed in a word of Prayer.
Father God in heaven, I do thank you for your Word that it is faithful and true. I thank you that it puts on clear display Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour. Oh Lord, help us to commit and to submit to you in our lives teach us something of the awesome power of Jesus Christ from your Word, that our faith and our trust in him might be built up. Father for those who have not yet believed upon him, I do ask that you would demonstrate who he is to them, that they might hunger and thirst after righteousness, that they might recognize their weakness and turn to him in repentance. These things I ask in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
May the Lord bless you.