Seven strikes and you’re out? Baseball regulations allow three missed swings before the batter takes the bench.
Pilate sat at the governor’s throne when his people brought Jesus to him during festival time. Pilate’s custom was to release one prisoner based on crowd vote. There happened to be a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas in the dugout during the festival.
Matthew’s account doesn’t reveal how Jesus Barabbas was well-known, but hometown fans favored him. Jesus the Messiah was the opposing visitor, even though He held an error-free record.
Batter up! Pilate knew the crowd wanted Jesus kicked out of the game. He didn’t have proof of unsportsmanlike conduct, but to honor his traditional prisoner release, Pilate asked Jesus, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” (Mt. 27:13) Jesus didn’t respond.
Pilate swung again. Like a team with players who share a name, Pilate wanted clarification. “Which one do you want me to release to you? Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Mt. 27:17).
Third pitch. Pilate appeared to be stalling. Perhaps, his slump was considered a “reign” delay. Pilate’s wife, his assistant coach, sent a request to release Jesus the Messiah. She said she suffered greatly that day from a prior night’s dream about Jesus’s innocence and death. Scripture doesn’t disclose Pilate’s reaction to her message, but Matthew wrote that priests and elders persuaded the crowd to request Jesus Barabbas and execute Jesus Christ.
Throw number four. Again, Pilate asked, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” Unanimously they cheered Barabbas out of the batter box.
Pilate wasn’t a quitter. Fifth try. He pitched an underhanded question. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?” (Mt. 27:22). Time out! Pilate is the governor. The head coach. He asked the crowds what he should do? How could that possibly end well?
Sixth swing. Pilate got his answer. The crowd chanted “Crucify him!” He tossed their ball back. “Why, what crime has he committed?” (Mt. 27:23).
Seventh inning stretch. Pilate took a water break and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your responsibility” (Mt. 27:24). The crowd goes wild! Talk about political upset.
Pilate received the majority vote that day, but I’m curious how secure people felt about his future rules and direction. His transfer of authority became a record breaker.
Jesus Barabbas, the well-known prisoner, was set free on earth, but Jesus the Messiah was completely freed to eternally save His believers. Jesus’s crucifixion appeared to be His retirement, but through God’s expert fielding, He hit the ultimate line drive out of this world. Jesus scored and continues His winning streak.
I wonder what became of Jesus Barabbas. What did he do after his prison release? I read what Jesus did and does. I believe He’ll be coming back, stronger than ever.
Readers! Your turn!
What do you think Pilate’s wife dreamed the night before?
How did she get her message to Pilate?
What do you think Pilate and his wife discussed after his decision?
How did the couple’s relationship change?
Cheering from Jesus’s Skybox in His hall of fame,
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?” (Mt. 27:17).
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor (Mt. 27:21).
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked (Mt. 27:22).
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate (Mt. 27:23).
When Pilate saw 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!” (Mt. 27:24).