I am Barabbas

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.

infant 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.


11 Responses to I am Barabbas

  1. February 20, 2009 #

    Dear Renae,
    thank you for visiting.
    I guess I don’t have that much surplus energy at the time. Still flue and eye infection hangover.
    Today I was just about to post an insulting blog, (I felt entitled, being hurt), when you meanwhile had left me this sweet message.
    Do you believe in going God’s errands? I do. I believe that’s just what you did today.
    Making me go over to your blog and be filled up with love instead of ill-will.
    Thank you ever so much.
    Those were Godless people I would have hurt back.
    I was this close to doing so.
    If your blog just make this one of difference today, your reward will still be great.
    You sure are living your life in gratitude of God’s love.
    Let’s pray I may do so too.
    From Felisol
    P.S. Love your new picture and your new hairdo. You look like nineteen.

  2. February 20, 2009 #

    My dear Felisol! I don’t know which to respond to first. You are such an encouragement to me.

    Glad you like my hair. 🙂

    As for the rest, I’m so glad if God was able to use my words to encourage you. He has used your words to lift me up, as well. Thank you for being a blessing.


  3. February 20, 2009 #

    Great teaching, Renae. Thanks for illuminating a truth that just goes beyond our comprehension.

  4. February 20, 2009 #

    Thanks, Pam. Actually, Anne is the one who pointed out to me that Barabbas means son of the father, and set me on the path for this post. Isn’t it great that we can challenge and encourage each other?

    Loved your Valentine’s post, by the way! 😉

  5. February 20, 2009 #

    Renae, I love how you personalized Barabbas’ thoughts in the jail cell. I didn’t think of it from his perspective. Good job.

  6. February 20, 2009 #

    Thanks, Anne! 🙂

  7. February 20, 2009 #

    You provided fresh insight to a well-known story. Great writing, Renae!

  8. February 20, 2009 #

    Thanks, Alyssa! I enjoyed researching and learning about the significance of Barabbas’ name.

  9. February 21, 2009 #

    This is beautiful, Renae. Bar Abba.

    Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word is packed with hidden gems for us to mine?


  10. February 21, 2009 #

    Oh, Renae, this is wonderful. I love this from Barabbas’ perspective. You’ve made an excellent point reminding us that we are all Barabbases. Well done! Thank you for allowing the Lord to use your words to touch the hearts of others. Blessings to you…

  11. February 21, 2009 #

    Thank you, Jean and Lynn. It is humbling to me to realize how judgmental I can be – thinking what a rotten person Barabbas was – and then to realize he was a picture of me. I’m so glad God loves us in spite of it all.

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