I Am Barabbas

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 King 19-20; Luke 23:1-25


13 Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. 14 He said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. 15 Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death.16 Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.”

18 But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” (19 Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.)

20 Pilate addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.

21 They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.”

23 But they were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out. 24 Pilate issued his decision to grant their request. 25 He released the one they asked for, who had been thrown into prison because of a riot and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will. (Luke 23:13-25, Common English Bible)

I was thinking about this text this morning. I was thinking about what I might write. I had made a decision and started looking for a graphic for the post when I saw the meme above. It not only caused me to rethink my post for today, it caused me to rethink the way I have always looked at this passage.

When I started out today, I was asking the question, “Why would they choose him?” After all, Barabbus was a murderer, a thief, an insurrectionist. Come to think of it, why would Pilate be willing to crucify Jesus and let a known traitor and troublemaker go? It is a rather perplexing riddle.

Then I saw the meme. “I am Barabbas.” Actually, I saw another meme first and this was all it said. My immediate thought when seeing it was, “This is someone trying to get attention by saying something controversial. Then I saw the meme above and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Well, OK, I wasn’t actually moving other than a scrolling finger. Still, I stopped scrolling and sat and thought about that for a moment. Whoever posted it is right! “I am Barabbas and so are you.”

OK Keith, how did you reach that conclusion?

Wow! I thought you’d never ask. I am so glad you did. When you stop and think about it, what was Barabbas? Yes, he was a thief, a murderer, an insurrectionist, and probably a few other things the Bible doesn’t tell is about. All of that is what Barabbas was to a secular world and government. What was Barabbas to a spiritual world, a more spiritual government? It can be summed up in one word, “Sinner.” But, what is more, he is a sinner saved by the grace of God because Jesus died to save Barabbas and you and me from our sins.

The Scriptures say nothing more about Barabbas. We have no idea what happened to him after his release. He was very popular among the Jews. because he wanted the Romans gone log enough he tried to lead insurrection itself.

Legend has it, he went to Golgotha to watch the crucifixion for himself.

Another legend has Barabbas leading another revolt. This time he is killed.

Whatever the case may have been, it is my hope that Barabbas made peace with God and is spending eternity in his hands.

It is my prayer we will too.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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