Friday, May 17, 2019

Choose for yourself: Mat 27:20

When Jesus was on trial, it was the custom of the governor to release one prisoner to the people during Passover. In jail, along with Jesus, was a man named Barabbas, who had committed murder and insurrection. However, “the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.” (Mat 27:20) What is interesting in this verse if the infinitive “to ask.” Each verb in the Greek language can be spoken with one of three voices. There is the Active voice where the subject does the action. For example, “The teacher taught.” The teacher did the action of teaching. There is the Passive voice where the action is done to the subject. For example, “The student was taught.” The act of teaching was done to the student. Finally, there is the Middle voice. This is where the subject does the action for themselves.

In this verse, the people were persuaded to ask “for themselves” to have Barabbas released and for Jesus to be put to death. This was more than political gamesmanship. This was more than a strategic move to have Jesus put to death. This was a personal decision, on the part of the people, for whom they wanted for themselves. For themselves, they wanted Barabbas.

This verse makes me ask the question, “Who do I choose for myself?” Some choose Jesus because others around them do. Some choose him because their parents did. But do they choose him for themselves? This choice of choosing Jesus or choosing someone else is a very personal choice and must be made, not because others do or because of outside influences, but because we choose him ourselves and for ourselves. This is not a decision someone else can make for us; we must make the decisions ourselves for ourselves.

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