I Am Barabbas

He’s barely mentioned in the Bible, and yet his story, maybe more than any other, serves to explain the gospel. He is Barrabas.

Or rather, I am Barabbas.

Here is what we know about this man:

1. He was a rebel. One of his crimes was insurrection; he led a rebellion against the rulers of the land, the Romans.

I, too, am a rebel. Despite the benevolent rule of my King, I have both willingly and by my very nature participated in heinous acts of rebellion against the rightful rule of the God of the Universe.

2. He was a murderer. Apparently during his rebellion against the ruling authorities, someone died, perhaps at his very hand.

I, too, am a murderer. Not just of my fellow man, having wished them harm, but of Jesus Christ whose life I have chanted for through my varied and sundry acts of despicable sin. I have chanted along with the crowd, “Crucify! Crucify!” for I saw Him as a threat to my commitment to my own desires.

3. He, though guilty, was released and an innocent was punished in his stead. Barabbas was shocked to find that somehow, some way, all charges against Him had been dropped. Someone other than him was to die that day, though surely he deserved the punishment.

I, too, have been released. The punishment that was rightfully due to me has been handed down to another. Someone – an innocent man – has been crucified in my place.

I am Barabbas.

You, too, are Barrabas.

And now we stand with this man. Suddenly freed from condemnation. Blinking our prison-darkened eyes in the light of the sun of liberty. Facing the penalty of death, we now surprisingly stand free. Free to work. Free to enjoy. Free to live.

What will I do with this freedom?

And what will you?

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  • Paul Batson says:

    This past Wednesday evening, our Adult Bible Study looked at several characters in the crucifixion narrative, including Barabbas, trying to experience those events from their perspective. We came to the same realization: we are Barabbas.

    As Pastor, I prepared the study and helped facilitate the conversation. That conversation surrounding Barabbas became a real point of challenge for my life. When I shared that we don’t know the end of Barabbas’ story, that we don’t hear from him again, I even prompted discussion by asking attenders to write their own ending to his story. But I didn’t personalize it. It didn’t cross my mind.

    But then I was asked if I thought the Barabbas story was left open ended because of the personal challenge it creates when we discover that we are Barabbas. I’ve been liberated by Christ’s sacrifice. And just as you ask, “What will I do with this freedom?”, we asked that question On Wednesday, too.

    If Barabbas’ story was finalized, we wouldn’t have to opportunity to ask ourselves that question.

    I feel like I’ve hijacked your post, but I really said all that to say, “Thanks for continuing to drive home a challenge that god gave me earlier this week.”

  • Doug says:

    Thank you. I needed that today.

  • MK says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul. Sounds like a great study.

  • Mark Goudy says:

    All the more poignant when one considers that ‘Barabbas’ literally means (I think!!) “son of the father”.
    So, who’s the ‘son of my father’? I am. It should have been me upon that cross.
    And, who’s “the Son” of “the Father” who was crucified? Jesus.

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