Jesus has just endured betrayal, arrest, a myriad of six trials, and senseless beatings.
He now stands on one side of Pontius Pilate while the notorious criminal Barabbas stands on the other.
The Roman custom during the Passover Feast in Jerusalem is the release of a prisoner to be chosen by the people. Pilate wants nothing to do with this Jesus. I believe that he sees Jesus as a harmlessly charismatic, innocent man. Surely the crowd would see the unrecognizable state Jesus was in. Surely they would respond with mercy and beg for His release.
“Jesus or Barabbas. One of these belongs here, the other doesn’t. One has been found guilty of gross atrocities against you, the other has been found guilty of nothing. One exists to take everything from you, the other has existed in generosity and for your all-dimensional benefit.”
“Jesus or Barabbas. Which one would you like to walk your streets again?”
In one voice, they cry out for the release of Barabbas.
Imagine Barabbas’ response. Imagine his surprise. Imagine the glance shared between he and Jesus.
Imagine Pilate’s dismay.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?”
In one voice, they cry out for his murder.
When I place myself in this story, I usually find myself in the crowd, stirred by the goings on. I associate myself with the crowd screaming for Jesus’ death.
I wonder if this is misplaced association.
If I’m honest, a better association is with Barabbas–the criminal set free…the criminal who’s punishment was deferred to and satisfied by Jesus.