Now at the feast [Pilate] used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for the Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.   (Mark 15:6-15)

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As a child – and indeed, the child still within me – I was enraged to think that a guilty murderer was released while our innocent Lord was condemned. How unjust! It was Barabbas who should have carried the cross to Golgotha, and be nailed to it. Jesus deserved to go free.

What about you? Do you find this account to be nothing but injustice? Do you feel that if you were there, you would have fought against such a verdict? Let me tell you something:

You are Barabbas.

You were condemned. A guilty, sin-stained sinner with no way out. Had you received the ultimate, terrible punishment, justice would have only been served. And then you see Jesus: spotless, righteous, holy.

Against all hope, He took the punishment that should have fallen to you. He took the wrath of God, and you were set free.

All we like sheep have gone astray;we have turned-every one-to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:6)

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.