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Getting the Right One: Lenten Devotions

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Lenten Devotions, Sacrifice, Salvation

After [Pilate] had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, ‘I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?’ They cried out again, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a robber. (John 18:38b-40)

Pilate is trying to pull a fast one. He knows that Jesus is innocent, and that the chief priests want Him killed. But he also knows Jesus has many fans among the ordinary people of Jerusalem. So he gambles. He offers to release Jesus according to the Passover custom.

But the chief priests outmaneuver him. They get the crowd to shout for Barabbas.

It wouldn’t be the first or the last time people made the wrong choice. By asking for Barabbas, they got a robber and murderer instead of an innocent Man—an evil man instead of the true Son of the Father. Barabbas would go free, and Jesus would go to the cross.

And yet … that means they got their Savior after all.

Because God the Father sent Jesus into the world to lay down His life for us—to give Himself willingly into death in order to rescue all of us. The wrongheaded crowds. The wicked chief priests. The undeserving Barabbas. You. Me.

Through Jesus’ willing death and resurrection, we got our Savior after all. Praise be to God!

We Pray: Jesus, I’m so glad You are my Savior. Thank You. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
* Do you think Pilate was surprised by how his scheme turned out?
* Do you imagine Barabbas ever found out who took his place on the cross?
* What about you—how do you feel about the One who took your place?

Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 21, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

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