Choosing The Wrong Jesus

Jon Burgess


“Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:15-18


Oh the irony. A man whose rule was motivated by self-interest discerned the motive of the crowd was also self-interest. It makes sense because it takes one to know one right? Pilate could see this crucifixion of Jesus was not about true justice. Thus, he was not surprised when the crowd chose the wrong Jesus, Jesus Barabbas, over Jesus of Nazareth to set free according to custom. Pilate himself had the opportunity to choose self-sacrifice over self-interest when his wife was given a dream to not condemn the right Jesus. As with the crowd, his self-interest ruled his decision making process and Pilate chose to please the people rather then heed the warning. Pilate chose to keep the peace by killing the Prince of Peace. Pilate chose the wrong Jesus.


As it turns out, it's easy to choose the wrong Jesus. We are all hard wired to look out for our own self-interest. Even when serving others it's often motivated by how the outcome will best serve ourselves. My Pastor in Bible College used to put it this way: "We all tune in to the same radio station every day, WIIFM, "What's In It For Me?" This stands in stark contrast to the the very Lord who died for us all on that day. He didn't live for Himself but for others. It was in His self-interest to call down legions of angels to carry him away, but He didn't. He defined the life of self-surrender and self-sacrifice and calls us all to the same. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, " Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self-interest." Jesus came to provide a different movement, a different lever, a different motivation. Choosing the right Jesus means choosing a love that not only lays down his life for his friends but also for his enemies. Choosing the wrong Jesus means I am moved by personal reward and would never do something that does not directly benefit myself.


I thank You afresh and anew this morning for coming for me and dying for me and rising for me. Thank you for showing me a better way to live. A path beyond self-interest. Forgive me for the times I too have chosen the wrong Jesus even when it looked to others like I was serving You Jesus. You see my heart. You know my motivations. You died for all humanity for all eternity knowing there would be many who would never turn to You. You chose self-sacrifice over self-interest because You were interested in a relationship with me. This blows me away. May I live in this movement of selfless love. May I choose You every time no matter how inconvenient to myself!

Devotions for May 10

2 Samuel 18
Psalms 56
Matthew 27

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