Summary: Thank God for Jesus. He graciously took my place on the tree of Calvary. I am no different than Barabbas. I deserved to die, but Jesus took my place.
Is there a Barabbas in the house?
If we are honest, our hand would be high in the air.
IL.: An overly ambitous attorney made a phone call to the governor in the middle of the night. He insisted to speak to him about an urgent matter. Finally, the governor agreed. "What is it?" The attorney replied that Judge Garber had just died. So he told the governor "and I want to take his place". Smiling in the phone, the governor replied, "It's fine with me if the undertaker agrees to it".
Jesus Christ has been arrested and taken before the authorities. Many false accusations have been thrown up. The mob mentality has set in.
The Jews are fed up with Rome and want change. They had hoped that this Jesus would have risen up and overthrown the current administration. Since that has not taken place, they are more than miffed at Him. The religous leaders are so full of hatred for Jesus that they are beside themselves. He has revealed their deceitfulness time and time again. Now, these two groups have a common purpose: to avenge this Man who has grieved them sore.
There were many accusations made against Jesus, and there were many contradictions. All in all, they came up with three main charges against Him.
1. He incited the people to not pay their taxes to the roman government.
2. Jesus was trying to usurp authority by claiming to be king.
3. Blasphemy by claiming to be God.
I. The Dilemna of Pilate
Pilate wanted to play politics. He did not want a revolt of the people. As he took time to question Jesus, he came to understand that this Man was not guilty of any crime. As a matter of fact, this Jesus mystified him. He marvelled that Jesus did not even speak out in His own defense.
Nonetheless, a great number of his subjects were wanting judgment against this prisoner. Above all, Pilate wanted the people to like him. He had to find a way to let this innocent man go free and pacify the people at the same time. Then it came to him. Every year, there was the custom of letting a prisoner go free. They would pass the sentence and proclaim Jesus guilty, then to show mercy, they would let Him go free. Possibly, that would make all parties contented.
No way! The Jews and the religous leaders would not hear of it. So Pilate connives and conceives a plan that surely would cause them to gladly release Jesus. He remembers a prisoner in his care, who is the scum of society.
Life serves us many choices. Many of them we would rather not have to make. Still yet, they are in our hands. Just like Pilate, when it is all said and done, we have to decide,---What will I do with Jesus?
II. The Delight of Barabbas
His name means "son of a father". You could trace him all the way back to Adam, the father of the human race, who brought the first sin into this world.
He has been convicted of:
He is on death row. There has been plenty of evidence of his crime. He is a menace to society. I would say that no one ever came to visit him in prison. His character was one of bitterness and hatred.
Pilate surely thought that this would be a no-brainer.
Barabbas represented the passion for political liberty. Maybe the people believed that if Barabbas would be freed, he would gain a following and rise to oust the roman leaders.
Barabbas was his surname. His first name was believed to have been Jesus.
What a paradox. The choice is between 2 different Jesuses. In the eyes of some, they may have seemed similar. Yet, to those who were more perceptive, there was a great difference.
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
Barabbas had no hope of ever being free or going back into liberty. When he least expected it, the word came to his cell, that he had been pardoned. he was free. Another Jesus was taking his place. He surely pinched himself to be sure that it was no dream. I imagine that he went running home, shouting, dancing, and singing for joy.
That is what theologians call "sustitution atonement".
III. Despising the Saviour
Pilate tries again to appease the people and let Jesus Christ go free as well. He offers a possibility of letting both prisoners go free as a gesture of extra mercy (v.12). The Jews, with the manipulation of the religous leaders, demand that Jesus be crucified.
It seems that Pilate has run out of rabbits to pull out of the hat. Instead of being a real man and standing up for a man he knows is innocent, Pilate decides to betray his own soul and condemn the Son of Man. He feared the people more than he feared God. His pomp and his power was of more importance than his conviction to do what was right.