‘Then released he Barabbas unto them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delievered him to be crucified’ Matthew 27:26
“When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the spirit”
In our journey through the Holy Scriptures, we have heard how God’s prophets announced the plan of salvation which God designed to save sinners from eternal punishment. What is that plan of salvation? It is the death of the Messiah on the cross. God’s prophets testified that the righteous Messiah must die,
shedding His blood for the unrighteous,
bearing for us the punishment for our sins, like an innocent sacrificial sheep. This was the only way that God could forgive us of our sins
and judge us as righteous
and still remain righteous. In our chronological study of the Holy Scriptures we are nearing the most important story of all, that is, the historical account of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. In the will of God, in this, and in the coming lessons, we will see how the Messiah, Jesus, offered His life
to bear the sins of the world.
In our last lesson, we saw how the chief priests bought a betrayer who led them to the place where Jesus and His disciples were. We saw how they arrested Jesus, bound Him, and led Him away.
Why did Jesus, who was full of the power of God, allow His enemies to capture Him? He allowed them to capture Him so that He might fulfil
which foretold how the Messiah must suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day, so that whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins. Just as the prophets had prophesied, the Messiah would be “led like a lamb to the slaughter.” (Isa. 53:7)
Now let us continue in the Gospel to see what happened on that dark night, after the religious rulers arrested Jesus. The Scripture says: (Mark 14:53-72) “And they led Jesus away to the high priest. And with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And
Peter followed him afar off,
even into the court of the high priest; and he sat with the guard, and warmed himself at the fire. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus, to put him to death; and found none. For many bore false witness against him, but
their witness agreed not together.
And there arose certain, and bore false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither did their witness agree together. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying,
What is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said,
and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes, and saith, What need have we of any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy.
What think ye?
And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy. And the guards did strike him with the palms of their hands.
And as Peter was beneath in the court, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said,
But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch;
and the cock crowed.
And a maid saw him again, and began to say them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them; for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth to this. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And
the second time the cock crowed.
And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crows twice, thou shalt have denied me thrice. And when he thought of this, he wept”.
(Matt. 27:1-5) “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and when they had bound him,
they led him away,
and delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. Then Judas, who had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that
And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself”.
(John 18:28-38) “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgement; and it was early. And they themselves went not into the judgement hall,
lest they should be defiled;
but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, what accusation bring ye against this man? They answered, and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and
judge him according to your law.
The Jews, therefore, said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die. Then Pilate entered into the judgement hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him,
Art thou the King of the Jews?
Jesus answered him, sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me. What hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from here. Pilate, therefore, said unto him,
Art thou a king, then?
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate said unto him,
And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them,
I find in him no fault at all”
(Luke 23:5-15) “And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s juris-diction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was at Jerusalem at that time.
And when Herod saw Jesus,
he was exceedingly glad;
for he was desirous to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod, with his men of war,
treated him with contempt,
and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together; for before
they were at enmity between themselves.
And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers of the people, said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perveteth the people; and, behold, I, having examined him before you,
have found no fault in this man
touching those things of which ye accuse him; no, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him, lo, nothing worthy of death is done by him”.
(John 18:39,40) “But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover. Will ye, therefore, that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying,
Not this man,
but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.”
(Luke 23:19-22) “(Barabbas) who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison. Pilate, therefore, willing to release Jesus, spoke again to them. But they cried, saying,
And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him. I will, therefore, chastise him, and let him go”.
(John 19:1-12) “Then Pilate, therefore, took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said,
Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him with their hands.
Pilate, therefore, went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that
I find no fault in him.
Then came Jesus forth, wearing a crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests, therefore, and officers saw him, they cried out, saying,
Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate, therefore, heard that saying,
he was the more afraid;
and went again into the judgement hall, and saith unto Jesus, From where art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above; therefore, he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from then on 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”.
(Matthew 27:24-25) “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying,
of the blood of this righteous person. See ye to it. Then answered all the people and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Mark 15:15) “And so Pilate,
willing to content the people,
released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus] … to be crucified.
Thus, everything took place just as the prophet Isaiah had prophesied some seven hundred years earlier, when he wrote concerning the Messiah: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet
he opened not his mouth;
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7) Isaiah also penned these words of the Messiah, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50:6)
We have seen how the religious leaders of the Jews
when they oppressed and afflicted the holy and righteous Messiah and condemned Him to death. Why did the religious rulers condemn the Messiah to death? They condemned Him because
they could not tolerate the light of the truth.
Jesus had told them the truth, and that truth revealed their hypocrisy and wickedness. Jesus Himself was the Truth! The Light had come into the world, but
people preferred the darkness because of their evil deeds.
And since the children of Adam could not tolerate the Light, their only solution was to attempt to extinguish it. That is what the Scriptures declare, saying: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness overcame it not … Which none of the princes of this age knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory … He was in the world, and the world was made by him,
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even them that believe on his name” (John 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:8; John 1:10-12).
In the next lesson we will see how the children of Adam fulfilled the words which the prophet David wrote in the Psalms concerning the Messiah, saying: “They have pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm. 22:16).
God bless you as you consider what the prophet Isaiah prophesied long beforehand concerning the sufferings of the Messiah:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7)
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