Imprisoned – Destitute – Hopeless – Guilty
All of these describe a man we read about in the Bible, a man named Barabbas. John’s gospel tells us how Barabbas fits into the Bible story.
“And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, ‘I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish that I release for you the King of the Jews?’ So they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ Now Barabbas was a robber.” (John 18:38-40)
If we dig deeper we see that Barabbas was far more than just a robber. Matthew’s gospel tells us he was a notorious prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Mark’s gospel tells us that he was a murderer and a rebel. (Mark 15:7) Various commentaries state that Barabbas was not only a robber and murderer, he was chief of the robbers (a captain of banditti) and this man had made his living with robbery, plunder and murder. And when we read about Barabbas he is rotting in prison with his fellow rebels suffering justlyas a result of his tremendous crimes.
Now imagine what happens next from Barabbas’ point of view.
“So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.”(Mark 15:15)
All of a sudden, down in the dark dungeons of Jerusalem Barabbas’ chains are loosed and he is set free. The doors are opened and he is allowed to walk the streets of Jerusalem a free man once again! Imagine the sense of utter joy and disbelief he must have felt. Sure every Passover they released a prisoner, but who would choose the murderous thieving Barabbas!? To him, it was an incredible gift. Because Jesus submitted Himself to death on the cross Barabbas had a second chance at life!
We are all Barabbas. All of us should rightfully be rotting, imprisoned in sin and destined for eternal destruction in the fires of Hell. We should be chained in the dungeon, imprisoned, destitute, hopeless, and guilty, just like Barabbas. Yet all of us have a second chance at life because Jesus submitted Himself to death on the cross. Today we can walk out of the prison of sin free men and women!
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22)
Here is the question; how will you use your second chance? Will you waste it by imprisoning yourself to sin once again? Or will you use the gift to serve and glorify Jesus; the One Who set you free?