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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Barabbas or Jesus?

Today’s Verse:

Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?...The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. ~Matthew 27:17, 21


Professional sports are sometimes notorious for accounts of bad sports trades. No matter how much the experts try to assess and make sense of trading certain players for players of another team, sometimes the trades do not pay off. They go down in the history books as being “bad trades.” Our devotion this morning centers itself on the worst trade that was ever made. It was the moment when the hyped-up and hostile crowd of Jews decided that they wanted a criminal by the name of Barabbas instead of taking Jesus.

We see an unfair deliberation.

Jesus was brought to trial before a kangaroo court. This was an illegal trial that had the intent of finding Jesus guilty of crimes that He never committed. The world is always looking for ways to find fault with Jesus. False witnesses were brought forward to bring unsubstantiated charges against Jesus. The chief priests brought up their charges and faults with Jesus. Here, we see in the courtroom a deliberation being made about Who Jesus was. At this time of the year, the governor could release one prisoner free based on popular opinion. So, Pilate, not wanting to be the one to make the final judgment alone on Jesus, asked the frenzied crowd that had assembled who they would like to see released to them: Christ or Barabbas?

We see an unfavorable decision.

Without hesitation, this frenzied and demonically energized crowd cried out, "Barabbas!" Barabbas was a guilty robber and murderer. The crowd chose a robber instead of the Redeemer. They chose a murderer over the Master. They chose a criminal over the Christ. The crowd made a bad trade! How many people today are still making a similarly bad trade? They would rather have their gold instead of God. They would rather have their silver than have the Savior. They would rather have the world instead of the will of God. They would rather spend eternity in Hell instead of in Heaven. They would rather have the inferior instead of the Infinite. There is no worse trade than to request anything other than Jesus.

We see an unforgettable deliverance.

One person got the best out of this trade: Barabbas! Barabbas was released as a free man. Jesus became the substitute for Barabbas' crimes. The Just became the unjust that He might bring us to God. All of Barabbas' crimes were paid in full by Jesus. God died for sinful man. A condemned man was expunged of all his crimes. The demands of justice were paid in full by the Son of God. When Barabbas came to his senses, he may have grasped the fullness of the sublime act of Jesus: “He died for me.”

As we look from our vantage point, the Jews made a bad trade. When we look from Barabbas' vantage point, it was a trade that represented the greatest act of undeserved mercy, clemency, and pardon ever executed. What temporary and inferior things have you been trading for Jesus? Has the devil been blinding you into thinking that trading Jesus for things that have no lasting value is in your best interest? Look at what Jesus has done for you and re-evaluate your choices in light of what will last in eternity!

Have a wisdom-filled God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 11-13

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