Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. – John 18:38-40 ESV
The Bible is filled with HIDDEN GEMS, some NOT SO hidden. I AM BARABBAS and so are you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ! Jesus became Barabbas’ SCAPEGOAT and HE is ours too, if we will TRUST in HIM and choose to make HIM OUR LORD! In the Bible, a scapegoat is an animal which is ritually burdened with the sins of others then driven away. The concept first appears in Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert to carry away the sins of the community. Barabbas was a well-known criminal who had been imprisoned “for an insurrection in the city, and for murder” (Luke 23:19). One of the HOLY DAYS in Judaism is the Day of Atonement and it included a ceremony that involved the expulsion of a living animal from the camp, traditionally translated “scapegoat.” The high priest placed his hands on the head of the goat and confessing the sins of Israel, the priest symbolized the transference of the people’s sin to the goat. Together, the goat sacrificed, and the living scapegoat showed that the goats were substituted for the people and that they bore the penalty of the sin- and were made righteous.
Leader, the story of Barabbas, a “notorious prisoner” who was given LIFE, so that CHRIST could be crucified- is important! This is one of 10 things mentioned in ALL FOUR Gospels. HE was chosen by the crowd, over Jesus Christ, to be released by Pontius Pilate in a customary pardon before the feast of Passover. Barabbas’ name literally means, “son of the father”. Barabbas is mentioned in all four gospels: Matthew 27:15–26; Mark 15:6–15; Luke 23:18–24; His life intersects that of Christ at the trial of Jesus. Matthew 27:19: Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” A righteous man dies and a murderer, lives- This is our story!
Conduit, the story of Barabbas and his release from condemnation is the remarkable, parallel story of every believer. We stood guilty before God and deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). But then, due to no influence of our own, Jesus CHOSE to die in our stead. The Innocent, JUST, JESUS, bore the punishment we rightly deserve. Like Barabbas, WE who BELIEVE, are allowed to go free with no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We get HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and HE gets our PUNISHMENT! Jesus “suffered once for sins- He is our SCAPEGOAT, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). We have little ideas of what happened to Barabbas after his release! Did he go back to his life of crime? Was he grateful? Did he eventually become a Christian? No one knows for sure. But the choices available to Barabbas are available to us all: surrender to God in grateful acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us or spurn the gift and continue living apart from the Lord. CHOOSE WELL, Eternity is riding on it!