Perhaps you know of Barabbas. He was a very lucky guy. The name Barabbas means son of the father. Normally, in his time men would be named Barjonas (son of Jonas), Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) and so on. “Son of the father” may mean his father was unnamed; his father was just a man. Possibly Barabbas did not know his father.
So why was he so lucky? Well, first off, before he was lucky, he was bad. By ‘bad’ I mean he was a criminal. Some say a robber or a murderer. He was in prison condemned to death for insurrection, leading a revolt against Rome. He was caught red-handed; everyone knows he is guilty as charged. As we meet Barabbas, he is agonizing in a dungeon awaiting execution by crucifixion, an extremely torturous form of execution.
Again, where does ‘luck’ come in? Wait! Here come the Roman guards, the door to the cell is opened and the outside light is blinding. “On your feet, Barabbas, you are to stand before the governor!” What? What more can they do to me? I know I am to be crucified for my crimes, but why does the governor want to see me – to further humiliate me?
Barabbas, still chained is led to a second story balcony where Pilate, the governor, stands before a crowd, no, a mob gathered on the streets below. Near Pilate stands a man with humble appearance yet regal bearing, a man like none other Barabbas has ever seen. He too is bound and shows the signs of recent physical abuse; even so he exhibits an aura of peace as if he were the one in control. He hears his name. The crowd in the street is shouting, “Barabbas, Barabbas! Release Barabbas!” What is happening here? Then he hears the Governor respond, “then what shall I do with this Jesus?’ The crowd replies, “crucify him, crucify him!” The governor looks at the Peaceful One with pity and says, “Why? I find this man innocent.” The mob persists, “let his blood be on us and on our children.” Pilate resignedly looks once more at the man with regal bearing and then casts a disdainful sidelong glance at Barabbas. “Give them what they want”, he murmurs to the guards.
Barabbas felt the guard behind his back unlocking his chains. The other man looked at Barabbas with tender compassionate eyes, as if to say, “Go, I will take your place”. He was lead to the servant’s entrance of the palace and shoved out the door. As he stumbled into the street, he heard the guard remark, “You are the luckiest scum in the world Barabbas, that innocent man is taking your place on the cross today. Go out and make something of your life. Though you deserve death you are getting a second chance.”
You and I can relate to Barabbas. We have sinned against God and man. We deserve death and someday we will have to stand before God to face judgment. There is no way we can justify ourselves before a holy righteous God. Our only hope is Jesus, who looks at us with love and forgiveness. He willingly took our sentence upon him. Put your trust in him today. He offers freedom from sin, abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I confess I am a sinner. I need your forgiveness. As the very Son of God you obediently gave your life for mine. Please forgive me, come into my heart today and guide me in the life you intend for me to live so that I might live with you forever. Amen.
“We owed a debt we could not pay, He paid a debt he did not owe.”
(Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9,10)