15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They said, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
Is this not the rallying cry of many churches today? When given the choice between the real Jesus (The one who went around spouting such things as "Repent!" and "Go forth and sin no more!" and "Take up thy cross and follow Me") or the kinda hip sort of laid-back slacker-dude type of Jesus (The kind that supposedly said we weren't supposed to be worried too much about sin and all that sort of icky stuff, that we we're just supposed to chill and get along and not worry about all that holiness stuff), many churches have no problem choosing the latter.
After all, who wants to have to worry about sin and Hell and God's wrath and all that? "Hey, come on dude, chill with all that stuff! Church is just a place to hang and be cool! Hey, who's up for poker? Dude, go ahead and put in some Elvis! He, like, sang some gospel songs or somethin'!"
No, they would rather have that non-threatening Jesus. Who in fact is not Jesus at all. Truth be told, they don't want Jesus. They want Barabbas.
- "Don't prophesy to us right things! speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits!" (Isaiah 30:10) They want Barabbas.
- They want to hear "Peace! Peace! when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14). They want Barabbas.
- They want to hear "Peace and safety," not knowing that sudden destructon will come (1st Thessalonians 5:3). They want Barabbas.
Who wants that Jesus that says, "Take up thy cross and follow Me" (Mark 8:34)? Let HIM be crucified. "I got a life to live, and I can't be held back by reading some book you guys think is supposed to help me know God. I already know Him, and He ain't gonna judge me!"
When someone tells you about these preachers that go around speaking smooth things and deceit, and that we should really listen to them because of how popular they are, remind them of this fact: Even Barabbas won a popularity contest once.