The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” Matthew 27:21-22
“Barabbas. Barabbas!” From his small dark prison cell, Barabbas surely heard the shouts of his name from the crowds, followed shortly after by even louder cries of, “Let him be crucified!” I wonder if he was trembling or stoic with the realization that his life was surely about to come to an excruciating end. Just punishment for his many crimes.
Instead, the notorious murder goes free, while the innocent Jesus is condemned. The cross meant for Barabbas hailed on the raw, bloody, exposed shoulders of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t resist or fight back. In fact, He joins the chorus saying, “ [your name]. [your name]!” You see, He isn’t just taking the place of Barabbas on the cross, He is also taking it for you and me. He humbly, powerfully, and willingly takes the punishment we deserve.
Everything happens as the prophets foretold…as Jesus told his disciples it would. He is mocked, scourged, spit on, lots cast for his clothes, taken to the hill to die on a cross. An intended humiliating public display for all to see.
Three hours of unusual darkness covers the land during the middle of the day. The heavens declaring the weight of this moment.
Questions: Picture the scene of Barabbas in his prison cell hearing his name wondering if it was his time to die on a cross…and then hearing that he has been released and Jesus would be crucified instead. Imagine what he is thinking and feeling. Do you have this kind of emotion when you think of what Jesus did to take your place?