Bible Passage: Mark 15:8-15
Key Verse: Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Mark 15:15
Did you realize that Barabbas was the first person that Jesus died for? Think about it. Barabbas is released by Pilate and Jesus takes his place. Barabbas is a terrorist who has probably killed his share of Romans. He led an unsuccessful revolt resulting in his capture. He was scheduled for crucifixion; instead Jesus takes his place.
I wonder if Barabbas stayed in Jerusalem and watched what happened to Jesus. The chances are that he didn’t. He probably left the region as quickly as possible, thanking his lucky stars and hiding somewhere safe. We never hear about him ever again, so he perhaps took his undeserved freedom and fled into obscurity.
Justice was denied that day in Jerusalem, but grace increased. Jesus, the peace loving, faithful prophet died in the place of a murderous religious fanatic. God’s Holy Son took the place of a wicked human being. Because we focus so much on the Cross and Resurrection, we miss this most poignant moment of the first Holy Week.
The point that I’m making is this: if Jesus could die for a person like Barabbas, then hasn’t He also died for people like us?
Question for personal reflection
Do you think that Barabbas was ever personally grateful to Christ for dying for him? Are you grateful for the same thing?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You died for each one of us, taking upon Yourself the unholiest of our sins and the vilest of our deeds. You died in place of us, so that we may be completely forgiven and eternally restored to God. How can we ever thank You? How can we show You our appreciation? We give our hearts to You, as well as our lives, to the glory of God. In Your Holy Name, we humbly and thankfully pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s drawing is one of John’s latest Holy Week images. It’s called “Cup of Salvation.” If you would like to view a larger version of the picture, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/6894799260_642eda84fe_b.jpg