Sunday, March 16, 2003

What a Riot!

Pilgrims from all over the world had filled the Temple Mount, coming to celebrate the Jewish feast of Passover. They were told that there was a man, Jesus of Nazareth, who was blaspheming God by claiming that he was the Christ, the Son of God, & by saying that not only had he come down from heaven, but that he was also going back into heaven. They were told that he said he was the light of the world & the way, the truth & the life, the living bread & the living water. They were told that he claimed to have the power to forgive sins, a power that only God has. In fact, they heard that he claimed to be God: I and my Father are One!

This Jesus irritated the Jews. He refused to keep the traditions of the elders & freely associating with sinners & publicans. He was very popular, but the Jewish authorities arrested him & tried him. Then they brought him before the governor of Rome, Pontius Pilate, to be tried, & it was there that this riot began.

Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. In Matt 27:15-16 we read, "Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas." And in vv 20-23 we read, "The chief priests & the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas & to have Jesus executed. ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ asked the governor. ‘Barabbas,’ they answered. ‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ’Crucify him!’ ‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’"

This riot was instrumental in leading to the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. After he died on the cross, he was buried & the authorities secured his tomb with a seal. But on the third day this Jesus rose from the dead, as he had promised, & by his death & resurrection, he defeated death, hell, Satan, sin, demons, & all evil. He lives today and grants salvation to all who believe and call upon his name.

Jesus Christ is Savior & Lord and of the increase of his government there shall be no end. The spread & victory of the gospel is inevitable. How will you respond to the gospel invitation today? Revival or riot?

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