“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8 NASB

John calls me a robber; Luke, the renowned historian, records me as being guilty of insurrection and murder and last of all Matthew says I am notorious… I’m famous, I tell you.  Do you know who I am?  I am none other than Barabbas, not so great liberator of Israel from Roman oppression.  I certainly have not “learned from things written aforetimes” (Romans 15:4).  When God moves forward according to His will and with obedient children, He leads the way to victory in driving out the enemies (cf. Hittites, Jebusites, Canaanites, etc) of Israel.  Had I remembered that, I might have re-thought any attempts to drive out the Romans, especially after the failure of all others who had previously tried.

Now things are looking bleak.  I am chained here in Pilate’s prison, awaiting the punishment handed down by tribunal.  Death by crucifixion, a most despised death by my people, since anyone who hangs on a tree is accursed.  But what can I do?  Acquittal after a guilty verdict is out of the question.  And the accustomed pardon to a criminal at the Passover isn’t likely to be given to an enemy of Rome.  I am resigned to my fate.

Thus you can understand my surprise when I was led by the centurion to the prison gate and released.  How did this happen?  The commotion in the distance was far from my mind as I hurried to find friends and family, seeking refuge in the event this was a mistake and they returned for me.  It was my family who cleared my confusion a few days later when they told me that a Nazarene named Jesus was convicted without crime and I was specifically asked to be freed by my countrymen.  It was my actions that made me guilty of death, not His.  I know now when I seemed to be without hope, there was Jesus.  When the penalty for my crime needed paid, there was Jesus.   Jesus changed my future and now I must tell others, so that He can change their future too.

Copyright © 2009, Nolan P. Rutter

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