Delivery Plan • Barabbas
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator
In 2004, Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie, The Passion of the Christ, opened in theaters all over the world. If you happened to be one of the few that did not see the film, go right now and watch it on Netflix or rent the DVD. It was an amazing, extremely graphic adaptation of the life of Jesus leading up to and including His crucifixion. The film grossed over $300 million dollars! Practically the whole world watched and cried through this heart-wrenching Gospel account. I cried throughout the movie like the rest of the sold out crowd in that theater, but the most powerful scene to me was the one where Jesus was sentenced to death. When Pontius Pilate asked who he should set free, the crowd went crazy yelling for the release of Barabbas. I watched Barabbas, the rebellious rioter and murderer sentenced to death, set free from his shackles and impending brutal death. He then ran out of Pilate’s Hall yelling, “I’m free, I’m free!” Jesus took on Barabbas’ shackles and was whipped, beaten, and dragged through the ridiculing crowd being led to His death. I was so overcome with intense emotion. The thought that I am Barabbas and had also been sentenced to death and set free, hit me fresh in the face and my heart. I had heard this account my entire life. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of eleven and never strayed away from my faith. But at that moment, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time. I was more grateful than I had ever been. I was again reminded that this amazing transfer was indeed the most beautiful exchange.
Barabbas’ story is a very important account in Scripture; this account is in all four Gospels. The name Barabbas can be broken down as “Bar” (son of) and “Abbas” (father) meaning “daddy” or “son of father.” Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son making Him the “Son of the Father.” Barabbas was a notorious criminal, on death row. He was guilty of insurrection (rioting and rebelling) and murder because he had rebelled against the Roman Domination of that day. The time of Jesus’ arrest came during the feast of the Passover. It was customary to release one prisoner during this holy feast. God in His infinite wisdom used real life examples to reveal His plan and how that plan included all mankind. You see, Barabbas represents all of us. Even if we never incited a rebellion or killed anyone, we are still born a complete sinner in need of a Savior. We read in Romans 3:23, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Barabbas represented all of us! He was set free, and Jesus took his and our penalty. One of the interesting points here is that God set the vilest sinner in that day free so that we could also be set free. God can and will use whoever He wants to fulfill His plan. Barabbas’ release or pardon, indicted Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God and sentenced Him to a cruel, horrific, death on the cross.
Scripture does not reveal what happened to Barabbas after he was set free, his supporting role in the story was finished. He fulfilled the purpose God had planned for him. He won the lottery that day, but did he win it for all eternity? Scripture does not reveal whether Barabbas put his faith in the One who took his place. Chances are he did not, or it most likely would have been included in the Gospel story.
How about you? Have you put your faith in the One who took your place?
Trading Your life, For my offenses
For my redemption, You carried all the blame
Breaking the curse, Of our condition
Perfection took our place
When only love
Could make a way
You gave Your life
In a beautiful exchange
(Lyrics from The Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong)