Give us Jesus, keep Barabbas
There is a famous story in the Bible prior to Jesus’ crucifixion where Pontius Pilate assumes that people will make the logical choice and request freedom for an innocent man instead of a well-known criminal who had been proven to be a menace to society. He reminded them that they could only chose one. Instead of making the logical choice they replied, “Give us Barabbas” – and in response to what to do with the innocent Jesus they shouted, “Crucify him”. This reminds me of what is happening in our world today. When there is a choice between decent living and people who are serving the community, people are shouting crucify them. When it comes to more alcohol, drugs and things that will obviously harm society, they are shouting “Give us Barabbas.”
How is it that we are embracing Barabbas when we know what the outcome will be? Gangs are being touted, “whoredom” and lewd behavior is being called for, drunkenness and carousing is being promoted even though we know society will be severely damaged. We now have an estimated 70 percent of babies being born to single mothers according to government statistics. The Bahamas with one of the highest rates of alcoholism, drug use, and aids and yet we are still crying for Barabbas. The crack and alcohol epidemics have produced a generation of fatherless and sometimes motherless children. Rap and reggae artists who are promoting gangs and violence are routinely welcomed as heroes and if anyone questions their lyrics the crowds shout, “Give us Barabbas”. Women and young girls parade the streets dressed like working girls perpetuating lust and lasciviousness and instead of decrying indecent exposure the crowd shouts, “Give us Barabbas.”
We know we need Jesus, but we are still shouting “Give us Barabbas”. It is amazing that we say we want peace, but we sing about war. We entertain ourselves with video games that consists of endless bloodbaths, many television shows feature guns and gore, yet we say we want peace. What do we really want? We say we want strong families, but we glorify men who have multiple women, the so-called player or pimp. We claim to want a productive workforce and less traffic accidents, but we call for more alcohol and drugs. We beg for marijuana and other intoxicants but say we want to have good judgement.
The problem is that we can either have Barabbas or Jesus but not both. If we choose Barabbas, then don’t complain when society looks like and acts like Barabbas. If we ask for Jesus, then we must turn our backs on Barabbas. Jesus represents what we say we want, and the opposite of what Barabbas represents. The results of following the way of Jesus are indisputable. They include, peace of mind, a right mental attitude, stable family life, sober mind, community building traits and peacemaking in a world of war. The problem is not that we do not want Jesus, the problem is that we want Jesus and Barabbas. We want peace while we promote war. We want morality while we promote immorality. It does not work that way and will not work that way. Experience has taught me that you reap what you sow, you do not sow one thing and reap another.
I have yet to see calls for Barabbas activities produce Jesus results. Some celebrities profess Jesus and talk about God, but their words and behavior are fully Barabbas. It is interesting that thousands flock to Barabbas activities that feature indecent exposure of flesh along with public drunkenness, and they post on their Facebook pages their desire for God. Some say only God can judge me when God has already pronounced his written judgement. One day reality will set in and we will come to realize that we do not need Barabbas. As a country the question remains, which one will we ask to be released to us? I say give us Jesus and keep Barabbas.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.