Mark 15:6 – 15 Now it was the custom at the Feast 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 envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the 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 him over to be crucified.
Have you ever wondered what must have gone through Barabbas’ mind that day? He was a murderer. Guilty as could be. He was a criminal of the worst kind, and he knew his fate. Soon, he would be publicly beaten, flogged, and crucified. He would die as people laughed at him and spit on him. That was his destiny.
Did you know that the name Barabbas actually means “son of the father”? Bar means son, and Abba means father. This criminal was actually someone’s beloved son. I wonder if Barabbas sat in his cell remembering the one who gave him that name – a father who loved him. What a disappointment he had turned out to be.
Some records indicate that Barabbas had a first name. Jesus. It was a common Jewish name.
So, Jesus, son of the father, sat awaiting the execution that he deserved. But then, he heard chants outside his window. “Crucify Him!”
“They must be talking about me,” I’m sure he thought.
Then, the door to his cell flew open, and the dark shadow of the guard fell over him. Barabbas rose, ready to meet his certain doom. But then, the guard said, “You’re free to go.”
Later, he learned that Jesus Christ, innocent though He was, took his place. Funny. A perfect stand-in. Jesus, Son of the Father, took the place of Jesus, son of the father.
Friends, I am Barabbas. I am guilty. I deserved to die. Yet, I am a son – or daughter, actually – of the Father. He loves me.
For some reason that still isn’t clear to me, my Father sent His beloved Son as a stand-in for me. A perfect, spotless stand-in. He became a prisoner so that I could be set free. He died so I wouldn’t have to.
Yes, I am Barabbas. Guilty. Loved. Freed.
Dear Father, Thank You for loving me with a love I don’t deserve. I love You, too, and want to live my life in gratitude for what You did for me.