Barabbas is Me

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[John 18:40 NIV] 40 “They shouted back, ‘No, not him! Give us Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.”

Mark and Luke tell us Barabbas was not an innocent bystander or political activist, but a murderer. Matthew tells us he was well known, but it was for creating chaos, and violence. Barabbas was guilty, Jesus was innocent.

This exchange is one of the great illustrations of the gospel. We see Barabbas the guilty thug and murderer and Jesus the Messiah and healer. Barabbas deserved to be condemned and Jesus set free.

This story is no mere tragedy of justice but an illustration of grace. Grace is an undeserved gift. The gift isn’t just that we are set free, that would be amazing but would inspire no real change on my part… just a “get out of jail free card.” As Barabbas walks away a free man, Jesus is led away to be beaten, whipped, and crucified.

The reason we are set free is not some judicial technicality, it is because Jesus has taken my place and paid the ultimate price. 2 Cor 5:21 says,” God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This seems so unfair, and selfless love truly is. It is not fair that Jesus is punished for our sin, but it is true.

We never read of Barabbas having a changed life. Jesus dying for me doesn’t automatically change me. It is my response to this grace that transforms my life. How have you responded to Jesus taking your place? Take some time to think about the price that was paid for you today. Jesus didn’t do it to make you feel guilt, but to transform you by His grace. Celebrate His love today by thanking Him and sharing it with someone else!