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02/11/2012 / Test All Things

Jesus and Barabbas – A Blessed Picture of Substitution

Matthew 27:15
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Matthew 27:16
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

Matthew 27:17
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?

Matthew 27:18
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

Matthew 27:19
When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Matthew 27:20
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Matthew 27:21
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Matthew 27:22
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

Matthew 27:23
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Matthew 27:24
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Matthew 27:25
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Matthew 27:26
Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.


Long ago, in the depths of a Roman dungeon laid a man whose guilt, and resulting captivity and sentence of death pictured the state of those born in Adam — Barabbas, son of a father.

Nearby stood the Son of God as a lamb dumb before His shearers. No one spoke a word in His defense, though He stood innocent of any crime. His time of guilt would come later, when the sins of all His elect would be imputed to Him. An angry crowd cried for the innocent blood of Christ while allowing a guilty man to go free .

What a picture of substitution!

Barabbas was released from all that held him captive. There were no preconditions; the bars of prison were simply swung open, and all his guilt was passed to the One Who alone had always pleased His Father.

So, now Barabbas, as a type of the sinner, was granted freedom and liberty from prison only through the crucifixion of Christ Jesus, so also have believers since that day gained true spiritual liberty by the same means.

In Christ, a believer is an joint-heir with Christ and can be justly called “a son of the Father.”

By Marvin Stalnaker


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