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Summary: Barabbas watched as Jesus was beaten with HIS beating, as Jesus took up HIS cross, and as Jesus was peirced with HIS nails. He got a special revelation of Jesus as his substitute!

“ME? BARABBAS?”

Mt. 27:15-17, 20-26

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: You really wonder about people’s common sense when you’ve read some of these instruction labels:

1. On a hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.

2. On box of Cracker Jacks: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

3. On a bar of Palmolive soap: "Directions: Use like regular soap."

4. On some frozen dinners: "Serving suggestion: Defrost."

5. On a K-Mart iron: "Do not iron clothes on body."

6. On Nytol Sleep Aid: "Warning: May cause drowsiness."

7. On a child's superman costume: "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly."

B. TEXT

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Mt. 27:15-17, 20-26.

C. THESIS

1. We’re going to look this morning at one of the most unusual substitutions in all of human history – the good for the bad.

2. This substitution throws great light upon each of us, because if we look into the face of the forgiven person, we’re likely to see our own face there!

3. The title of this message is “Me? Barabbas?”

I. STORY FROM BARABBAS’ PERSPECTIVE

A. BARABBAS’ LAST DAY

1. The prisoner stiffened as he heard the sounds of the soldiers coming into the pitch-dark prison. The stench and the blackness were driven back as the torches drew near.

2. He broke into a cold sweat and his stomach turned sick with fear. He knew the horrors of crucifixion; he had seen it too many times, but this time, it would be him.

3. Pushing, shoving, and dragging him, the ruthless soldiers brought him to the surface. Fresh air! Sunlight! How sweet to breathe it again, but only for a few hours.

4. But instead of taking him to the yard to be scourged, they forced him onto a balcony of the Palace, and there below, was a mob of thousands.

5. What cruel trick was Pilate about to play? What were those soldiers saying? Something about the Passover, and a prisoner would be released? Surely Pilate would not let him go -- one who had killed Romans and led a revolt against Caesar.

B. THE SUBSTITUTION OF JESUS TO DIE

1. With disbelief he listened as Pilate offered the mob a choice -- Jesus or Barabbas! That was no choice at all. He was guilty; Jesus was the prophet, the miracle-worker from Galilee.

2. They wouldn't possibly choose him! His heart almost stopped beating as he heard the crowd scream, "Give us a Barabbas!" And about Christ they cried, "Crucify him!"

3. His mind reeled as he thought, “This can't be happening! Me -- the guilty one -- spared? And Jesus -- the innocent one -- crucified? This must be some cruel joke.” But it wasn't.

4. With cursings, Pilate's soldiers roughly dragged him down the hallway, released his chains, and with threats of revenge, thrust him out onto a street.

5. He stood in shock, watching the door close. This morning he was to be crucified. Now he stood in the street -- a free man!

6. He began to hear the lash of the lictor’s whip. Again and again it cracked. Someone had been taken into the soldier’s courtyard and tied to the whipping post.

7. He ran down the street and peered through a hole in the wall. There in the courtyard, Jesus had been bound to HIS whipping post.

8. With every crack of the whip, Barabbas winced with vicarious pain, knowing that it should be HIS skin the cat-of-nine tails was ripping.

C. BARABBAS REELS AT THE INCONGRUITY

1. Barabbas’ mind reeled. “That Jesus is the holy Prophet! 1,000’s think He’s the Messiah. He’s healed the deaf and blind; He’s driven out demons; He even raised people from the dead. If there EVER was a Man from God, He’s Him!”

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