Reading the famous story of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion, you come across this man who is on death row. This man is named Barabbas. During the Holy Days (at this moment it was Passover) Pilot would allow the people of Israel chose one person to be set free. So he, Pilot, allowed them to choose either Jesus or Barabbas. Pilot believed that they would choose Jesus because he saw no fault in Jesus. I mean why would he? Jesus is the Son of God. Barabbas on the other hand was a terrorist, a murderer and was a leader of thieves.
To Pilot’s surprise (and probably Barabbas’) they chose Barabbas. They chose the murderer, the thief. They chose the one who deserved to die. The people called out “We want Barabbas! Crucify Jesus! Crucify him!” But Jesus understood. He stood there willingly. He saved Barabbas’ life. He basically said “Go live your life. I’ll take care of your punishment.” He knew very well that Barabbas left without any thought of what happened. He knew that Barabbas wouldn’t cry out to God and change his ways. He still gave up his own life for him! The cross Jesus died on was a cross meant for Barabbas.
But who was Barabbas? Are you confused? Let me rephrase the question. Who is Barabbas? I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. We are Barabbas. We were the ones standing beside Jesus, bound in chains. The people were calling out our names. They were calling out “We want Jeremiah!” “We want Randy! “We want Savannah!” and so on and so on. Jesus looked at us and said “Go on. You are free. I will pay the price for your crimes. Live you life.” I am the murderer that was meant to be on the cross. You are the thief who was meant to be punished.
But because Jesus loves us so much, he gave up his own freedom and took our place on that cross. The only person who never sinned his whole life died a sinner’s death. Jesus broke no laws, but yet he was killed as if he broke every law. And he did it all for me. All for you. Jesus even said “Father forgive them. For they do not know what they are doing.”
So now you know who Barabbas is.