The Innocent for the Guilty
Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him... And he released the man [Barabbas] they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will. (Luke 23:13-14, 25)
The righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty. This is what happened on that fateful day that we call “Good Friday.”
Jesus was accused by the chief priests and the rulers and the people of being one who incites the people to rebellion, but having examined him, Pilot found him to be innocent. However, a man who was guilty of this very crime was released and Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross. Jesus was crucified between two men, both of whom were guilty and receiving a just penalty for their crimes. One of these men hurled abuses at Jesus but the other rebuked the man who hurled abuses, confessed that he himself was deserving of punishment and believed that despite being hung on a tree, Jesus would come into his kingdom. Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Barabbas was a guilty criminal allowed to go free, yet Jesus, an innocent man, took his place in death. Two men were crucified with Jesus, one on his right and one on his left. Both of whom deserved punishment and death. One hurled abuses at Jesus, the other confessed and put his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Barabbas represents Adam and original sin. The two men on the cross represent those who will go to heaven and those who will go to hell. All deserve hell but the man who is repentant and believes in Jesus will be in the paradise of God, while the unrepentant will be in hell. Do you believe that you are a sinner, deserving death and hell? Do you believe that Jesus is righteous and will come into his kingdom? Do you believe that all who trust in Jesus will be in the paradise of God, (Revelation 2:7) but the unbelieving will go into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death? (Revelation 21:8)
We are all Barabbas, guilty sinners deserving death for whom Jesus took our punishment. Which criminal are you, the criminal on the right or the criminal on the left?