Who is Barabbas?
Man Up 1/4/2016
Who is Barabbas?
When we think of Barabbas, there a few things that come to mind very quickly. We often think of the one that should have been crucified instead of Jesus because he was such an awful person, but when we examine scripture we see so much more than the few seconds that we give thinking about Barabbas during the Easter season. First we have to see what the scriptures say about Barabbas.
Mark 15:6-15 “6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
As you can see from the passage, the terms surrounding Barabbas was “Murderer” and “Insurrectionist”, John goes on to say “Robber.” So what is so important about this man? We have a tendency as Christians to quickly classify sin. We quickly apply these terms to people and exclude ourselves from them. It’s easy to say “I am not a murderer or thief” but we must also quickly realize that we are just as guilty of sin in front of the Almighty God. In Romans 5:12 it says “12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—” and Romans 3:23 says “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”. As you can see, death is the penalty for sin. We always seem to be able to recite these passages but not fully understand the meaning. When we classify sin/sinners, we are letting pride interfere with the pure understanding that we are ALL sinners and the only separation from sin we have is by grace.
We also see that it was a custom to release a prisoner during the festival. This custom traces back to a term that we still use today, “Scapegoat.” I have used this term many times and never knew the true meaning. It was customary when bringing a sacrifice to the altar, that you bring two animals. One was used for a sacrifice and one was freed into the wild and termed, “Scapegoat.” This custom ties directly into what happened here. You see, sin is the reason for death. The sin was placed on Jesus, so that Barabbas could walk free. So as you look at Barabbas, you see that he was guilty of heinous crimes and we often see these verses as he deserved the cross instead of Jesus. I challenge you to think quickly of God’s view of this situation. Sinner deserving death, yet freed because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Do you see any resemblance?
2 Corinthians 5:21 “21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
I have come to the conclusion that I am Barabbas. I am the one that gets to walk free because of a sinless man, sacrificed in my place. I am the one that get’s to continue life, without the bondage that my sin has caused. So when you think of Barabbas think of sinner saved by grace, just as you are saved by grace.