“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
Maybe you saw the news. This weekend, a “Christian” crowdfunding site is facilitating support for the family of Kyle Rittenhouse, the gunman who murdered two people in cold blood in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The goal? To ensure Barabbas walks free.
President Donald Trump has already vocalized his support of Rittenhouse’s disturbing, meticulous actions, so it’s no surprise that his legions of evangelical Christian supporters—those responsible for putting him in the White House in the first place—aren’t far behind.
Each day, it seems, evangelical Christianity plummets further into the depths of total and irredeemable depravity. Yes, irredeemable. Irredeemable because they no longer sulk when mustering an explanation for their untoward support of Trump. Rather, quite mesmerized, they excitedly defend him.
They honor him.
They … love him.
And as horrifically damaging as that all is to the faith, the support of Rittenhouse is different. It crosses an even more lurid line.
Consider, for a moment, that followers of Jesus, the God-man who demanded, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” would instead fanatically defend someone who lifted a weapon, aimed, and took the life of two fellow children of God.
Don’t be confused. These Trump-supporting Christians? They know the words of Jesus, chapter and verse. They just don’t care any more.
When Barabbas was on the platform beside Jesus, Pilate was convinced he had stacked the deck correctly. Barabbas, of course, was a convicted murderer. He had broken Rome’s laws. He had terrorized the people. Jesus, meanwhile, could continue his peaceful (if not annoying) political protests and terribly exhausting revival events, but at least justice would be served.
But Pilate hadn’t properly calculated the visceral, unabashed, blind hatred from the people in the crowd. Hatred that was unfounded, yet had been strategically stoked from certain leaders.
They were told what to think.
They were told who to hate.
They were told when to seethe.
And instead of trusting the words of their savior, who stood before them, they chose poorly.