Summary: This is an sermon to show a sinner 1) the need of salvation, but also 2) the necessity of accepting the pardon that Jesus offers.
Text: Matthew 27:21-23 “The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.”
I. The Gambling Governor: Pontius Pilate
A. Pilate’s Predicament
i. The Conditions:
1. The Power Struggle: Jews incapable of putting men to death.
2. Seeking death by crucifixion
3. They have no grounds substantial grounds to bring to Pilate of Jesus’ guilt: “What accusation bring ye against this man?” “If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.”
ii. The Questioning
1. Description of Jesus’ condition as he stands before Pilate
2. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
3. “Thou sayest”
4. The silence of Jesus before the accusations
5. Pilate marvels at His silence
6. His reaching to Pilate
iii. The Conclusion
1. “I find in him no fault at all.”
B. Pilate’s Plot
i. The Advocacy of Pilate
1. Pilate seeks to release Him. He cringes at the
ii. Pitting of Jesus against Barabbas
1. Pilate’s Choosing of Barabbas:
a. His Crimes:
i. Treason: Seeking to overthrow gov’t
b. Well known for his nature: ZEALOT
c. Pilate’s confidence
2. Jesus: the spotless Lamb of God
a. Pure and holy
b. Meek and lowly
iii. The Wavering of the Crowd
iv. The Influence of the Chief Priests and Elders
v. Pilate’s Impatient Cry, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?”
C. Pilot’s Surprise
i. Judgment Rendered: They choose Barabbas
1. On verge of riot
2. Call on Jesus to be Crucified
ii. Pilate’s Relenting: Gives up Jesus
II. The Great Exchange
A. The Guilty Party: Jesus Barabbas (Yeshua Bar-Abba, “Son of a father”)
i. Represents the condition of the entire human race:
1. At rebellion against the Divine Majesty
2. Bound in fetters of the sin and the curse of the law
ii. Condition was hopeless before the appearance of Jesus
1. No idea of a ransom for his crimes
2. No hope of obtaining freedom again
3. No inkling of obtaining mercy
iii. The Chance of Escape
1. Comes without his efforts
2. Cannot come without someone else taking upon them his punishment
B. The Innocent Party: Jesus Christ (“Son of THE Father”)
i. His Release would be Barabbas’ Ruin
ii. His Ruin is Barabbas’ Redemption
iii. Jesus steps up to receive the sword of justice
C. The Exchange: outcry of the people was the trumpet sound announcing our redemption. Barabbas and Jesus change places
i. Upon Jesus is placed:
1. The murderer’s bonds
2. His guilt
3. His disgrace
4. Conclusion: THE REBEL’S CROSS BECOMES THE LOT OF JESUS
ii. Upon Barabbas is placed:
4. Conclusion: JESUS’ CIVIL RIGHTS AND IMMUNITIES BECOME THE LOT OF THE DELINQUENT
Illustration: 6th Century Story of Korean Sons—elder brother Chief Judge, younger a renowned bandit. Bandit is eventually captured.
Chief Judge renders bandit guilty of death.
Day of Execution: Chief Judge switches places and dies.
Bandit appeals to executioner, “I am the guilty one.”
Executioner, “What is thy name?” “There is found no sentence against any man by that name.”
D. Divine Acquittal:
i. We not only receive justification for our deeds
ii. Christ’s life and righteousness transfer to us
THIS IS THE PICTURE OF JUSTIFICATION: WE ARE FREED NOT BECAUSE WE ARE FOUND NOT GUILTY OF THE DEEDS, BUT BECAUSE JESUS ASSUMES OUR SENTENCE OF DEATH AND WE ASSUME HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might
be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Cor. 5:21)
E. The Choice:
i. Barabbas’ Ignorance: Barabbas is free, although still ignorant of the decision made in his favor outside his prison, and of the fortunate lot which is fallen to him. Dejected, and even despairing of deliverance, he continues to lie in his gloomy dungeon.
ii. The Message: Imagine to Barabbas’ surprise, as his prison door opens and instead of the executioner stands a messenger from the civil authorities with a smile on his face, and brings him the amazing and almost unbelievable news that he is free—he has received pardon!
iii. Barabbas Response:
1. Could Reject the Message: “It is impossible that this can have reference to a wretch as I. I am not worthy of forgiveness.”
a. In rejecting he resists LOGIC: You no longer have to die!
b. In rejecting he resists LIFE
Illustration: In 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. "A pardon is a slip of paper," wrote Marshall, "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.