I do not use the name Barabbas. I have never used the name Barabbas. All of my identifying documents have no reference to this name. Any correspondence whether by old school snail mail, current standard messenger apps or business appropriate email ever suggested that I am Barabbas but I must insist, I am Barabbas. Before you contact anyone on my behalf, before you seek mental health assistance under the assumption that I am experiencing some type of mental health issue, let me remind you that you too are Barabbas.
It is a small part of the story.
Jesus had been accused of many things most of which wouldn’t even get Him arrested nowadays. The mob mentality had taken over and the people in the crowd had become easily influenced. Pilate was stuck. He had an innocent man hated by the religious leaders and a guilty man, guilty not of a petty crime but of murder. One of which would get to go free and one who would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The religious leaders whipped the crowd into a frenzy so that they demanded a free pass for a killer and a crucifixion for the one that had done no wrong. I am Barabbas and you are too.
The imagery couldn’t be more clear.
If you were to write a fictional account of selflessness, of dying so someone else could live and you really wanted the reader to identify with the one whose life was spared, this would be the story you would write. If you were to dream up a way to say, “hey reader, if you really want to experience the moral of the story imagine yourself as this character,” having a character like Barabbas would be the way to achieve your goal. Anyone who read the story would find themselves saying, “I am Barabbas and you are too.”
This isn’t fiction but still, the imagery couldn’t be more clear.
Often we read the biblical account of Jesus’ trial and death and see how unfair it was for the one who knew no sin to die for those who are sinful by nature. We understand that it should be us losing our lives because it is us that have committed the acts of disobedience against God. We read about Barabbas being released and it just adds to the drama around the injustice surrounding the ordered crucifixion of the son of God. It is unfair, wrong, unjust, corrupt and many other adjectives but the descriptive word we often miss is imagery. I am Barabbas and you are too.
We have been let off the hook.
We deserve to die not Jesus. That is where the biblical account ends but I wonder, did Barabbas keep his granted clemency in the forefront of his thoughts? Did he live as a man deserving death but allowed to live? Was he changed because someone else took his place? We will never know this side of eternity although, if it still matters once I am in heaven, I would love to know what happened to Barabbas. I guess the only question that you and I can answer is, do we live with our granted clemency in the forefront of our thoughts? Do we live as a people deserving death but allowed to live? Are we changed because someone else took our place? I am Barabbas and you are too.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14 (NIV)
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