What We Learn From Barrabas 

If you grew up East of the Mississippi in a little Bible Belt town, you grew up hearing the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. He is betrayed, convincted of a crime he didn’t commit, hung on a cross, then resurrected three days later. But we forget that it almost didn’t have to be that way.

Pilate gave the crowd the option to release Jesus, or release a murderer named Barrabas. I couldn’t say why the crowd so easily chose Barrabas; maybe he was charismatic and likable. Maybe Jesus just made them uncomfortable. Either way, we as humans chose to let a murderer go free and crucify God in the flesh.

And isn’t that just like human nature? We so easily forsake God and his goodness for something more worldly, easier, comfortable. The more I think about this part of the story, the more I see Barrabas as an important symbol in God’s great narrative of history. Yes, he was a living human being but he represents all the choices we make that cast aside God for the fading pleasures of the world. And these choices, like the crowd’s choice to release Barrabas, are the reasons Jesus had to take our cross.

And the most powerful part of all is that He still did it. I can only imagine how his heart sank when his people chose a murderer over Him; how his heart sinks every day when we choose everything over him. In that moment he would’ve been justified to call down the legions of angels and be rescued from a death for people who didn’t care. But he didn’t. Because he cared when we didn’t. He loved when we didn’t know how. The gospel gets its power from the comparison of our deeply rooted evil to His unfailing goodness. 

So walk through your days knowing that even when you didn’t choose him, He still chose you. And know that choosing Him is a higher blessing than the world could ever give.

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