I Am Barabbas

Las cadenas se cortan por el eslabón mas débil / Chains break by the weakest link

I am Barabbas.

Who’s Barabbas? He’s an often overlooked, relatively minor, character in the events leading up to the death of Jesus on Good Friday. Many of us, myself included, tend to breeze past Barabbas as we read the Passion Week narrative. However, as I was listening to a sermon by Mark Dever a few days ago, he made a passing comment about Barabbas (38:45) that struck me: Barabbas is a preview of what we find in the gospel.

Like Barabbas, I was guilty of insurrection, rebelling against the lordship and sovereignty of a holy God.

Like Barabbas, I was imprisoned as a result of my sin and unable to free myself from its chains.

Like Barabbas, I was as good as dead as I awaited the just punishment for my rebellion.

This is a picture of the hopeless situation that Barabbas (and I) was in. But then, one day, a man named Jesus showed up and turned things around: 

Like Barabbas, Jesus, a clearly innocent and righteous man, was condemned while I, a clearly guilty and unrighteous man, was released.

Like Barabbas, Jesus took my place, bearing the punishment I should have borne and dying the death I should have died.

What a powerful picture of mercy! If there was anyone that day who understood the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death that first Good Friday, it was Barabbas. He, the truly guilty one, was pardoned, while Jesus, the truly innocent one, was executed.

Yet Jesus died to bring an even greater freedom than the one Barabbas experienced. While we don’t know if Barabbas ever became a Christian after his release, this brief account presents us with a picture of what Jesus’ death accomplished on the behalf of all who do repent and trust in Jesus: guilty, yet freed in the death of Christ.

Praise God for sending His Son to die on the cross so that a Barabbas like me could be set free!

Learn It. Love It. Live It.

You can read the account of Barabbas in each of the Gospels: Matthew || Mark || Luke || John

[image credit: Hernan Pinera on Flickr


About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

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