The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Matthew 27:21-23

It is believed that during the proceedings described in the above verses, Barabbas was in a place where he could hear the cry of the crowd, but would have been unable to hear the voice of Pilate. Consider these words that Barabbas would then have heard: “Barabbas! … Let him be crucified! … Let him be crucified!” Scripture doesn’t paint a very nice picture of Barabbas: a notorious prisoner, a rebel, a robber, and a murderer! However, by nature we too are rebels, and we too deserve to hear our names, followed by: “Let him be crucified! … Let him be crucified!”

Although Barabbas may have heard what certainly seemed like a cruel death sentence, the reality he experienced is told in verse 26: “Then he released for them, Barabbas.” Undoubtedly, Barabbas was first confused, but he immediately experienced great joy and sweet relief. He was released! The sentence he deserved was given to another. We, who by nature, are no different than Barabbas, who deserve to be crucified, have been transformed into sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father, because the sentence of death which hung upon us was borne by our Saviour in our stead.

Pilate’s wife told him, “Have nothing to do with that just man.” But Pilate did not have the option of having nothing to do with Christ. He either had to release Him to the crowd, and in so doing, condemn Him to the cross of Calvary, or he had to acquit Jesus Christ and worship Him as the King of kings and embrace Him in faith for salvation. The same is yet true for each of us today. We either reject Jesus Christ and live in unbelief according to our own desires, or we trust Him for salvation, worship Him as King, and submit our lives to Him. To choose to forsake Christ, is as foolish as Barabbas re-entering prison demanding to be crucified. Jesus died for you! Won’t you live for Him?