Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilot release Barabbas instead. “What shall I do, then, with the one you call king of the Jews?’’ Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed over to be crucified. Mark 15:6-15
Have you ever thought of yourself as Barabbas? The insurrectionist and murderer? I certainly have not. I grimace with disdain whenever I hear that name.
“Barabbas” is a surname that literally means “son of the father.” Some ancient manuscripts supply Barrabas’ first name as “Jesus”. Ironically, the other accused is “Christ Jesus”, true and eternal “Son of the Father”.
“Jesus” Barrabas becomes the fake messiah whose master is Satan. The crowd follows the master deliverer and crafter of lies. True through the ages, we, as sinful beings, follow empty false promises too. We have two choices: to follow the fake, worldy messiah or the true, promised, heavenly messiah. Which crowd do we find ourselves in?
When the crowd got their way, the door was opened to Barabbas to be released. The shackles fell and he walked out free! Barrabas was free just like we are today. Jesus occupied the cross for us. In Barabbas’ place He died on the cross. My cross and your cross were occupied by Jesus.
Because of our sinful nature, we can all call ourselves “Barabbas”. I have nothing to say for myself because I am very guilty. But Jesus has said, “You can go, I’ll take your place instead.”
I am Barabbas because I should have been crucified.
I am Barabbas because He did it all for me.
I am Barabbas because He died in my place.
I am Barabbas because he saved me.
Dear Lord and Savior, Thank you for doing it all for me. I am your unworthy grateful child that you saved. Let me never forget the sacrifice you made for me on the cross. Amen.
Written by janece Nelson