Barabbas was a “notable prisoner,” a robber, one involved in a rebellion, and a murderer. He was in prison, probably waiting for his death. He deserved to die.
But Jesus took his place.
The people yelled for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified. And they got what they asked for. Barabbas was set free; he was pardoned and let go. Jesus died instead of him.
I wonder: did Barabbas ever accept Jesus as his Savior? Did he believe He was the Son of God, sent to save His people? After he was released, did he follow Jesus to Golgatha and watch as He died on the cross that was supposed to be his; did he cry and ask for forgiveness?
Or did he walk away, simply relieved that he wasn’t the one who was being put to death? Did he keep on living the way he had before, just more careful so he wouldn’t be put in jail again? Did he never realize or appreciate the fact that Jesus took his place, that Jesus died for him?
We all were once Barabbases. Chained in a prison cell. Guilty. We had broken the law, messed up big time. And every day that passed was just one day closer to our deaths.
But Someone took our place. We didn’t know Him; we hadn’t been close friends with Him, hadn’t done anything to deserve His love. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but He died in our stead.
He was beaten and nailed to a splintering cross while we walked free. We breathed in fresh air while He gasped for breath. We were reunited with family, welcomed back into the home, while His Father turned away from Him.
And we all had a choice to make. Would we keep living the same way, ignore what He had done for us? Or would we fall to our knees before the cross, crying out with the centurion, “This was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54)?
Another way we are like Barabbas: his name meant “son of abba” or son of daddy/father. We, if we have accepted the free gift of salvation, are sons and daughters of the King; we can call the Almighty God of the universe Father.
Aren’t you glad to be a Barabbas? 🙂