“Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered Him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead.” (Mark 15:6-11 ESV)
What a shock it must have been for Barabbas when he found out his fate! As a rebel and a murderer, he knew perfectly well he deserved death. But instead, someone else would die. Barabbas would live and go free.
We have no idea what happened to him after this point. Did he mend his ways and live a better life? Did he return to his crimes? Did he perhaps become a follower of Jesus, the Man who took his place? Nobody knows.
Barabbas, whose name means “son of the Father,” gets rescued by the true Son of the Father—Jesus. Barabbas the rebel and murderer gets saved by the obedient, holy, life-giving Son of God. And not just Barabbas alone—Jesus lays down His life to save all of humanity, rebels and murderers that we are—everyone who has turned against God and gone their own way. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus makes us true sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father.
Now we are free—free to live for the One who loved us, and gave Himself for us. What could be better?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for taking my place. Amen.
* What do you imagine happened to Barabbas?
* What change has there been in your life situation, because Jesus took your place?
* Have you ever been able to follow Jesus’ example in some small way and take someone else’s place, paying the price while they gained the blessing?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted from Lutheran Hour Ministries
(To view the entire “Lenten Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)