Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Am Barabbas

Yes, Good Friday was yesterday, but below is what I shared last night in our Good Friday service.

Who was Barabbas? Barabbas is mentioned in all four Gospels (Matt. 27:15-23; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 18:38b-40). According to Matthew, he was a “notorious prisoner” (Matt. 27:16). According to Mark, he had “committed murder in the insurrection” (Mark 15:7; cf. Acts 3:14). According to John, he was a “robber” (John 18:40).

We are introduced to Barabbas in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ trial. In that day, there was a custom during the Passover of releasing a prisoner chosen by the people. Pilate gave the people a choice: Jesus or Barabbas. Sadly, the crowd chose Barabbas.

Imagine how Barabbas must have felt when the door of the prison was opened and he was set free. We don't know what he did after his release. Perhaps he watched crucifixion of Jesus. If he did, Barabbas would have thought, “I was supposed to be on that cross, but this man Jesus is dying in my place.”

It's interesting that the name “Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Like Barabbas, all of us are either sons or daughters of a father. You and I should see ourselves in Barabbas.

1. Barabbas was a lawbreaker. 

He was a man who had committed multiple crimes, including robbery, insurrection, and murder. The Bible says, “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). We have all broken God’s law. I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. 

2. Barabbas deserved punishment. 

The punishment for his crimes was death. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). We deserve to be punished because of our sin. I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. 

3. Barabbas was freed because Jesus died instead of him. 

Jesus was not a lawbreaker. Pilate said, “I find no guilt in him” (John 18:38). Jesus did not deserve punishment. Yet Barabbas was set free, and Jesus was crucified. The Bible says that Jesus “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus died in our place. I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. 

Second Corinthians 5:21 is one of the most important verses in the Bible: “For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). On the cross, Jesus became our substitute. He took our sin so that we could receive his righteousness through faith in him.

I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. Jesus died for us!

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