Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
I don’t know if Barabbas ever looked into the eyes of the crucified Christ. Perhaps he did and saw the love of one who died in his place. But even if he didn’t no man alive at the time ever owed so much in a physical sense, to Jesus Christ, as this pardoned criminal.
Barabbas had spent a restless night chained in a dark dungeon. His years of crime had come to a sad end. The morning light would herald the day of his death. He knew enough of the torture of crucifixion to understand the intense pain and suffering that lay ahead of him.
Unknown to this tragic prisoner an intense debate was ongoing at the Jerusalem residence of Pilate, the Roman Governor. With the crowd baying for the blood of Jesus and with Pilate recognising His innocence Barabbas is introduced as a bargaining chip. With the Romans traditionally pardoning a condemned prisoner at Passover Pilate presented the crowd two prisoners and one would be released; Barabbas the criminal or Jesus the miracle worker.
As lighted flooded Barabbas’ dungeon the guards unclamped his chains and announced that he was free to leave. Piece by piece he established the story of his freedom.
Did Barabbas make his way to Calvary and watch those three crosses being raised up?
Did Barabbas offer a simple prayer of prayer of gratitude for the man on the middle cross who died for him?
No man owed as much to the cross as Barabbas because Jesus died in his place.
Like Barabbas we are condemned.
Teaching Nicodemas sometime earlier Jesus said that those who do not believe are condemned already. The sinner sits in death row awaiting the sentence of eternal death. By nature we deserve the condemnation of God for all eternity in the darkness of hell.
But let us today stand in Barabbas’ shoes, gaze upon the middle cross because Jesus died for us. As darkness descended upon that lonely hill at midday He would pass through the wrath of God for our sins.
He did more than die for us. He took our judgement, our condemnation, our hell. We owe more to the Son of God than ever we could realise.
As Barabbas walked away that day a free man there is a message of liberty for all those that look by faith to the middle cross, accepting Christ as Saviour.
Is he your Saviour?
Are you saved by what Christ did for you on that cross?
He died for you!