But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. (Mark 15:11)
Here, Pilate is trying to release Jesus; Pilate knows that Jesus is popular with the people, and that the Jewish religious leadership were envious of Him. So, he figures that he can thwart them by using the custom of releasing a prisoner. However, the chief priests had been busy among the people, and they did not call for Jesus.
For this thought today, I want to consider the crowd – specifically, the followers of Jesus that were present. There were certainly some there who had not been swayed by the chief priests; and who wanted Jesus to be released. Perhaps, they may have reasoned, that God was giving this opportunity to have Jesus released.
But their hopes were dashed, and what they so fervently desired did not happen.
This is a great example of unanswered prayer. Has there been a time when you really, really wanted something from God? You’ve prayed and prayed, but it has not happened? I admit it’s happened to me many times. The followers of Jesus in the crowd felt the same way.
The difference is that we know (with the benefit of the Scriptures) that there was a larger plan of God at work here – God’s purpose was no less than the redemption of mankind: Jesus could not be released; it would have wrecked God’s plan.
What we desired could be similar – God has a purpose of which we are unaware, and He would answer our requests if He could, but it wouldn’t fit with a greater plan. This is where faith comes in – the trust; the assumption that God is good, and then acting upon that trust and assumption.