Day 23 of Lent: Choices

Mark 15:6-11 Today’s narrative takes place in Pilate’s Palace as the High Priest’s have come with an accusation of treason against Jesus.  Is he the King of the Jews, disrespecting Rome?  Pilate realizes that envy is driving this charge and offers Barabbas, “son of flesh,” who has actually been a revolutionary and murderer, as an alternative for the cross.  Will the crowd choose to free the man who has actually been a revolutionary, Barabbas, or the man who stands quiet, feeling no need to defend himself?  The choice will reveal trut

         Choices are hard.  Which college will I go to?  Which man will I marry?  Which medical insurance will I invest in?  We in the West have perfected “choice.” Allowing choice gives a people a feeling of control about their fate.  Choosing allows them to express their values, hopes, and likes or dislikes.  Interestingly the author notes that “the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him (Pilate) release for them Barabbas instead.”   

         The crowd is being influenced in the choice process.  That sense of being in control is only a fleeting impression. We think we are in control but so many things influence the choices we make. In our public domain, we can look at all the energy put into the vaccination push.  Whew!  We use masks, social distance and stand in lines for shots all because of the fear of death for a loved one or ourselves.  Fear motivates but we can also be influenced by love or jealousy or any number of feelings. 

         What choices are you facing today and what is driving the choice?  Love or fear?  Jesus made his choice in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said, “Not my will but thine.”  We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  I love the book of James as it has in chapter 4:13-18 the difference between wisdom from above and worldly wisdom, both of which impact our choices.  Worldly wisdom results in envy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice.  Heavenly wisdom is pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”  James says in chapter one that if any lacks wisdom for the choices they must make in the trial they are facing, “he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.”  Sounds like a pretty good deal, a sale worth investing in!  May we find wisdom from above for the choices we will need to make today.

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