Doing the Right Thing

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Matthew 27:15-26

Once again, we see the religious leaders leading the way in stirring up trouble. They were in the midst of the bunch and persuading the crowds to have Barabbas released.

Even though Pilate knew it was in the Jew’s self interest to crucify Barabbas, it was clearly in Pilate’s self interest to crucify Barabbas because he was a insurrectionist. I’m not sure what or who he was trying to overthrow but if it was Pilate, he was in trouble.

All signs were pointing for Pilate to release Jesus, including Pilate’s wife. There was no logical reason to continue to hold him. This obviously was not a logical case in any sense of the word.

Though in a way, it’s a picture of what Jesus actually did: took the place of a hopeless sinner. Even though all the signs were point to release him, Pilate took the easy way out and tried to free himself from any of the guilt. Ultimately, though, he made the decision to crucify an innocent man. History has not treated Pilate kindly.

Gary Vaynerchuk, a well-known social media specialist and marketer, made an unusual statement that has stuck with me: doing the right thing is always the right thing.

Regardless of intense peer, familial, and societal pressure, do the right thing. Pilate faced them all and folded.

You can apply that principle across the board in your life in most circumstances. The thing is, we normally know what the right thing is, especially when faced with good choices and bad choices.

Today, as you consider these words, think about the choices you have coming up in your life. What’s preventing you from making a good choice? Is sin hindering you at all? Pray that God would make it obvious what the best thing is for you when making those choices.

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