Barabbas or Jesus? Who would we choose?

Pastor Matthew Best
8 min readMar 29, 2021

(Here is the sermon I preached on Palm Sunday. You can watch the full worship service and hear the sermon at

Holy Week is my favorite time of the Church year. In this one week, we encounter the culmination and summary of what Jesus is all about — The impact of his message, the true cost of what it means to be Christlike in his tragic death, and his glorious resurrection which truly is Good News — the best news ever.

The temptation of this week is that we could just hear the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem today and then not think about anything that happens this week and show up next week at the resurrection — completely ignoring what took place. But remember, you can’t get to resurrection without going through death first. This week invites us to walk with Jesus, to clearly see with our own eyes, and hear very clearly the events of what takes place. To be really uncomfortable so that we can truly understand what lengths that Jesus is willing to go for us. To put ourselves right into the story and recognize that we aren’t just causal observers, we’re the crowd who goes from shouting Hosanna! to crucify him!

And yet we wonder…We wonder how people could go from shouting Hosanna to Crucify him in a matter of a few days. Is it really all that much of a mystery though? Are we really any different? Haven’t we seen politicians go from presidential consideration to has-beens because of a scandal.

Or how about prominent preachers that everyone loved and listened to whose world and ministry come crashing down with an accusation of an improper relationship or stealing money from the church.

Businesses that are on top of the world, raking in a fortune, with everyone looking up to the CEO — and all of sudden going bankrupt because a whistle blower steps forward and shows that the business was nothing more than a sham and fraud and the whole house of cards collapses.

These things happen rather quickly. It should come as no surprise that the crowd goes from triumphant shouts of Hosanna to Crucify him in a matter of a few days. We still do it today.

When Jesus the Christ is on trial in front of Pilate, the Roman authority in Jerusalem — the people are given a choice. It’s the point of no return. Whatever decision the crowd makes in that moment, determines the path forward.

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.