The Son of the Father
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him (Mt. 27:15-18, NIV).
I have had the honor of hosting groups on pilgrimages to Israel on fourteen different occasions. Most recently I took a small group of seventeen individuals to Israel from June 23 to July 4 of this year. We were only the third American group to tour Israel since it re-opened for tourism in the past 15 months of Covid lockdown.
Every time I visit Israel I learn something new about my faith, the Bible, its history or about Jesus. It blows my mind. I don’t know why I never knew this, (you probably do), but in the gospel accounts of Jesus's arrest and his mock trial, Pilate gave the people a choice of prisoners to set free: Jesus or Barabbas. And, of course, we all know that the crowd chose Barabbas.
Remember how Mel Gibson portrayed Barabbas in "The Passion Of The Christ"? Hideous. Mean. Mocking. Yeah, well, what I learned was that the name, Barabbas, means son of the father. Bar: son, Abbas: father. The son of the father.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Christ stands on the same platform with Barabbas and they are BOTH son’s of the father. Jesus, the Son of God the Father and Barabbas, the son of his earthly father.
Here we have a stunning picture of the grand plan of God. That Barabbas, the sinful, dirty, scoundrel of a person absolutely guilty of his sin and crime gets to go free while Jesus, the Son of the Father, absolutely sinless, pure and holy, takes our punishment and was condemned to die.
“What shall I do then with Jesus?” Pilate asks. “Crucify Him, crucify Him," the crowd shouts.
I am Barabbas and so are you. We get to go free from our hideous sin and guilt while the Son of God the Father takes our place and our punishment. What a Savior!
Heavenly Father, we continually offer our gratitude for the gift of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for his obedient sacrifice upon our behalf. May we never forget this Great Gift that has ransomed us from our sins and our bondage to death. In such liberation and joy, we declare, "Oh, what a Savior!" and offer this praise in Your name, Amen.
Rev. Kim Skattum
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains