THE ELECTION PROCESS IN JESUS' DAY
An election is a decision making process by which people choose someone to hold a public office. The election process reveals who the people prefer to assume that office and to serve the electorate. To elect means to make a decision and to choose.
Elections were held in ancient Greece, and in Rome. Caesars were chosen by election. In India, palm leaves with the chosen person’s name were put into a clay pot, and then counted. Ancient Arabs chose their caliph by election. So, elections have been long accepted, in choosing leaders for the people.
We see though the years much abuse of the electoral process. An uninformed electorate often will elect someone unworthy or unable to assume the job given to them. People registering to vote under the name of a dead person, or imaginative person, so as to gain more than one vote has often happened. Multiple voting of one person many times is also an abuse of the electoral process. Destruction or disqualification of votes of others who support a different candidate happens often also. Lies, false accusations, misleading information about candidates in order to turn the electorate from that person, happens frequently. Voting machines that alter the real count is possible and probably happens more than we know.
Despite all those hazzards of the electoral system, it is wise to have elections to try to sort out who is the choice of the people. In this nation, every four years, we listen to candidates tell us why they should be chosen to be our President. Often, what we hear are lies of grandize-ment about themselves, and lies of denigration against the opponents. After listening to such campaigns, too often the wrong person is believed.
THE CAMPAIGN OF JESUS
Jesus came to this earth, and walked about for three years. He preached an unusual message, campaigned for votes for righteousness, not for greed. He asked they give their all to the Lord. He asked they help the sick, the weak, the poor. He set high standards for those who would choose Him, and told them the rewards were in heaven.
When false charges came up in the campaign, ‘He answered them nothing’. No defense to the false charges of the campaign came from Jesus.
The opponent of Jesus in this campaign was Barabbas. Barabbas was a thief, a murderer, a notorious criminal. He did not seek to help anyone more than himself. He was evil to the core. Who could have wanted him to be the winner of the election between he and Jesus?
Matthew 27:11-26 (KJV)
11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 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, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
THE CRIMINAL CANDIDATE seems often to be elected.
The name ‘Barabbas’ is from the words ‘abba’, a term of endearment to one’s father, and ‘bar’, which is ‘son of’. So this is the ‘son of a dear or honored father.’
Barabbas was a criminal, chosen or elected by the mob at this trial, to be released rather than Jesus. Matthew called him a ‘notable’ prisoner. This is the word meaning ‘notorious’. This man was known to be criminal, evil, wicked, and he had been in an insurrection that resulted in murder.
He was a murderer, a killer. How awful is that crime! Yet, people could still vote for this candidate, over One Who came to give His own life, in order to save sinners.
Mark 15:7 (KJV)
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
Mark 15:9-15 (KJV)
9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.
11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.
12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?
13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.
14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
Jesus gave to the poor, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, cleansed the lepers, showed the way to God. Yet, this man, Barabbas, was a thief (John 18:40). He was a murderer. He was a lawbreaker. Quite a contrast. There should be no difficulty in knowing who deserved to be released.
The ‘priests’ stirred up the people to elect Barabbas in this election. They are supposed to be the religious, the holy ones. Yet, their advice was based on preference to a person who would might help overthrow the Romans. This Barabbas seemed strong, forceful, a man who would get things done. Yet, Jesus seemed weak, mild, loving, forgiving, and seeking to give to the poor, not make the rich richer.
How could the people elect Barabbas over Jesus?
We often can wonder that. Yet, we see this happen over and over again in our day. People who want us to pay for the abortion of the unborn, who want euthanasia, assisted suicide, etc. How can one justify electing them to offices that allow them to do those things? Yet, many times the ‘mobs’ of this time, are shouting out ‘Barabbas’, and the Christian (Christ like one) is rejected.
Matthew tells us that ‘for envy’ the people had delivered Jesus to Pilate. They had envy of Him as a person, they wanted the glory that He was receiving from the people. So, they built up this thief, this man who might help them in overthrowing the Romans, so that they could rise in power themselves. Today, some look to see which candidate may benefit them. Whether more unborn babies die due to that election is not a concern. They want to have personal gain, and if lives are lost in their quest, is not important to them.
Often we have already seen that some will vote for ones proven to be false accusers of their opponents. Yet, many still vote for these lying persons. Some will vote for one who they think has an ‘economic’ answer to the problems, and though this person will also continue murder of the unborn, they do not see their vote as enablement to murder.
The reasons for people’s votes are often like the reasons for the vote for Barabbas. They listen to lying leaders tell them who to vote for, they do not research the ethics, the faith of the candidates. They vote their pocketbook, allowing lying candidates to buy their vote with lies.
How could anyone vote against Jesus? That is a question that boggles my mind. Yet, many did it. They probably gave reasons later for why they thought it was a good idea, but it was the most stupid thing they ever did.
The election of Barabbas over Jesus is an election that ranks as the worst of all elections. What did Barabbas do for people? Do you have any list of people he helped? But the work of Jesus continues, and will continue for eternity. You, I, all of us are benefitting from this One, this One Who lost this election, but continued to serve us all the way to the cross, to take our place there, to win for us eternal life.
In our elections today, the winner is applauded and magnified as being the greatest of all the candidates. Jesus was the loser, but has proven to have served us far more than any winner. He is still at the right hand of the Father, interceding for many who are still voting for the other candidates.
Some are still casting their ballots, some are still making a decision in this election. Jesus is the wise choice, and someday, every knee will bow to Him, but for some, it will be too late, and their previously cast ballot will determine whose kingdom will be their eternal destination. Choose wisely.