Luke 23:13-25 (NLT)

Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty.  So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”

Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder; also every year at the Passover Feast, Pilate had to release one prisoner to the people). Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

 For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”

 But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.

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This morning as I read this scripture, a thought came to mind – am I any different than Barabbas? As an accused, convicted and sentenced criminal, Barabbas was supposed to die… not Jesus. I too, like Barabbas, am also an accused, convicted and sentenced sinner.  For Romans 3:23/6:23 tell me that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standard… and the wages of my sin is death (eternal separation from God)… So, I thought, how would this scripture read if I put my name in the place of Barabbas?

Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him (Jesus), and release (free) Brian to us!” (Brian was a man who was in prison for his part in a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Although Barabbas was the criminal – accused, convicted and sentenced to death at that time, that Jesus would  trade places with on His way to Calvary, we are all Barabbas’ in our own way. We are all accused, convicted and sentenced sinners and without a savior, destined for eternal separation from God.  Thank you God, that that day, over 2,000 years ago was not just about Barabbas. Jesus didn’t just take the place of and die for him only.  He was thinking about all of mankind… including you and I. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and why. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus thought of us that day – if it had been you or I standing there instead of Barabbas, Jesus would still have traded places.  He loves us that much!  “Love… endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinth. 13:8

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