On this Good Friday, I confess that I am Barabbas.
Barabbas was a criminal facing death–his deserved punishment. After Passover, there was a custom to pardon one criminal for their committed crimes. The crowds would choose, and then that man would be free from all punishment. The crowds chose Barabbas, and so Jesus took his place. Jesus was blameless and innocent, but He willingly went to the Cross instead of Barabbas.
I am the murderer. I am the rebellious rioter. I am the convicted criminal who deserves punishment.
I am not innocent. I have done nothing to deserve pardon. I have no claim of righteousness.
But I am Barabbas. Because of Jesus, I am pardoned and free.
As I think about Jesus’ journey to the cross and His death, I realize that this is God’s gracious exchange of my wickedness for Christ’s righteousness. Jesus’ actions on this day are the redeeming actions of grace that transforms my life. I was dead in my sins and facing my much-deserved punishment, but Jesus substituted himself for me. He is the propitiation for my sins. By His wounds, I am healed.