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The Pastor's Blog

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Jesus or Barabbas?

Another Bible question ...

Imagine this.

As the first dim light of dawn came through the small window of his cell, Barabbas knew that today was his last. For weeks he had been shackled in the dark, dank dungeon ... he knew that the cruel death by Roman crucifixion awaited him. Soon the brutes would come for him. They would manhandle him out to the place of scourging. Using a cat-of-nine-tails, they would rip open his back and beat him until he was almost dead. He knew that during the flogging, he would beg for death to come quickly. Afterward, too weak to fight or resist, they would usher him to his certain death at Golgotha.

The name Barabbas meant “son of the Rabbi.” His life had gone so wrong. His dad didn’t deserve such a son. Barabbas mourned his epic failure. Robbery. Rebellion against the ruling Romans. Murder. He was so guilty! Which hurt worse? ... the shame and humiliation of such a failed life, or the fear of dying in such an inhumane and brutal manner?

And, what would happen next ... after death? His daddy really believed that there was something more. It was easier to hope that there was just, well, nothing. But Hell? Was it real? Was it forever?

As he waited, dreading, yet resigned to the inevitable, he heard the angry crowd stirring outside. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

“Why do they hate me so?” he thought. He was sure that they were calling for his death.

At the same time, from his royal throne on the praetorium, Pilate asked the mob, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17, ESV).

Then, from his place in the dungeon, he heard his name. Listening closely, he heard it again. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Release Barabbas!”

The angry crowd, for an inexplicable reason, was calling for his release. Jesus would die, so Barabbas could live!

Undeserved favor! Unimaginable grace and mercy! Jesus was the Substitute. The guilty was pardoned while the Innocent One took the penalty which He didn’t deserve.

Folks, I’m Barabbas! You’re Barabbas! We’re the guilty party who deserves the death penalty. Jesus is the Savior who takes our place and sets us free!

Imagine that!

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