Indeed, the modern spin-doctors have taken charge, utilising this massive driving force to the extent that nowadays people power has become, dare I say it, one of satan’s most potent tools in his war against Jesus and the real Kingdom of God.
Two thousands year ago, in unison there was an anti-Christ chant. “Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!” It was the cry of the people.
That cry echoes down the corridors of human history. It is a heart-wrenching reminder, just as was Mel Gibson’s Passion film, of the weekend, some 2 000 years ago, that shaped the eternal destiny of mankind.
Matthew 27:15-26 tells how Jesus had been brought before the governor. It was the custom to release to the multitude one prisoner. They had a notorious criminal called Barabbas. Literally, figuratively, spiritually and symbolically, Jesus and Barabbas stood side by side.
It was decision time, and Jesus got the thumbs down! The motley, ignorant rabble, roused by the political and social manipulation of the leaders, bayed for His blood. The world, the multitude, the people had spoken. Jesus Christ was to be crucified and a criminal was to be set free!
Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. His wife confirmed having had it revealed in a dream. Yet Pilate yielded, succumbed, capitulated to the pressure and power of the public and political expedience.
The people had spoken! They wanted to wipe out Jesus. It rather reminds us of the incident with Jesus and the demons at Gadarene. They wanted Him to “go away” and “leave them alone.” They at least knew His power, His place and His authority. They knew who He was, unlike the ignorant mass standing before Pilate.
But Jesus Christ will never go away! This is a divine fact that confronts us hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. We all know that finally one day every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is the Lord. But while we, and I mean all those who attend church regularly, acknowledge this truth, even talk about it, study it, sing about it and read about it, many still don’t truly make Him Lord. Instead, they hover around the perimeter dabbling in his saviourship but refusing to bow to his lordship!
We all want a ticket to heaven, but at the cheapest price. The saviour route is much preferred. Lordship is a cost we don’t want to pay. But sadly Jesus is not your saviour unless He is your Lord.
And so the life-and-death contest continues unabated. Unbelief is rife! Religion is rampant! Sin and hypocrisy have reached pandemic proportions! Lives don’t change! The church is powerless! And the Bible is just another book!
Jesus said that the world hates Me because I expose evil. He makes people uncomfortable in their sin. He brings division. The world hates Spirit-filled radical believers.
But the world loves its own. That’s for sure! The multitude chose Barabbas, and still does. Causes produce heroes, no matter what the cost in lives. The end seems to justify the means. The difference between an atrocity and a cause clearly revolves around which side you are on. What they are doing is an atrocity but what you are doing is a just cause! Ridiculous, isn’t it?
I once read a book that traced the problem of leadership in the world. Working on the premise that leadership should never be extended to anyone for more than eight years -- two terms of four, as per the American model -- the conclusion drawn was that if every leader had been restricted to a maximum of eight years, millions of lives would have been saved.
Why? The problem of dictatorship! All seem to follow the same process. Firstly they serve the law; then make the law; then become the law and finally become God! Political palsy moves into delusions of grandeur and aversion to criticism. Boredom with mundane politics gets them to place themselves above it, as they play God, at the same time being obsessed with their own wisdom and the place that history will accord them. Sad, but power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Self-righteousness abounds! “I am innocent,” pronounced Pilate. How futile. No man can deny his responsibility or culpability. Pilate did nothing! That was his sin.
Finally, we have all been given talents and an area of influence. Obviously it is relative, with some platforms vaster than others. But finally, one day, God is going to ask us what we did with the things He gave us. God is drawing lines in the sand and as the world moves closer to our Lord’s return, godlessness is confronting us more and more. It’s not going to go away, nor is it going to get easier.
Life is about choices. We are in a decision-making process. We are all where we have chosen to be, like it or not. But we need to be reminded that intellectual assent, that is accepting the Bible, or physical compliance, that is going to church, is not necessarily a decision for Christ. It is far deeper than that. It is a decision of the heart and will.
Pilate tried to wash his hands. We are always looking for an excuse or a scapegoat. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed God.
It doesn’t work because, spiritually, blood does not wash off. It is only atoned in Jesus Christ. Remember, David had too much blood on his hands to build God’s temple. And the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land.
The ignorance of the rabble was highlighted by the fact that they just shouted louder and louder. Loud and defiant, they were shaking their fists at God. There was no consideration of the consequences as they shouted: “Let his blood be on our children.” No more reckless cry was ever uttered and a curse fell upon them, the curse of unbelief!
We are still releasing Barabbas! We each have our own “Barabbas” -- our inherent self-will and rebellion. We refuse to give up our independent right to ourselves as “I, me and myself” steadfastly refuses to take the ego to the cross.
We are daily denying Christ in our choices and actions. We are crucifying Him over and over as we still keep going with the crowd, manipulated by the world’s spin-doctors and sold out to the virtues of human philosophy.
It was the priests and elders who led the people astray and sadly we still see much the same deception, with many being caught up in the “religion” or “church” business. We are worshipping our own Gods, with “ecumenism” and “fellowship” replacing Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The giant apostate all-roads-lead-to-God church is constructing itself. The church is in its Babylon captivity, wrote A.W. Tozer. It is controlled and manipulated, carnal and worldly.
People power! What a brilliant conspiracy. Whoever controls man and his emotions, controls the world. Again I quote Tozer, who wrote: “The voice of the people is seldom, rarely, if ever the voice of God.”
It is time to recognise, arrest and repent of the spirit of lawlessness that used people power to rescue Barabbas and that is still working so strongly in the minds of those whose words and deeds, often in ignorance, oppose Jesus Christ and the true Kingdom of God.