Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.
For the past six months, I’ve been looking for a copy of a particular book. Because it is out of print, the prices for used copies are exorbitant. For a long time, I kept finding prices ranging from $100-$200. So, I gave up on finding the book at a reasonable price until the publisher decided to put it book back into print.
Recently, the Holy Spirit told me to look again. Sure enough, the book was available online at a price that I could afford. The only thing I had to do was spend my chocolate budget. While getting the book was awesome, two amazing things made this experience even more awesome.
First, I was able to get a new copy of the book. Second, only that one copy was available. Yes, when I checked back after ordering, the only copies available were the expensive used copies. I was spared paying the higher price because I was in the right place at the right time, in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
When I think about this experience, I think of John 18:38-40, where the Jews demanded that Pilate release a criminal instead of Jesus. In verse 40, “They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.”
I wonder what Barabbas must have been thinking. Using my imagination, I figured he knew that he was going down for the crimes he committed. He probably had already said goodbye to his loved ones, made his peace with his fate and was waiting to be put into prison. Then, in a moment, everything in his life changed. He was no longer condemned by was saved because he was in the right place at the right time. He was set free because he happened to be there when Jesus was there.
Like with my new book. Barabbas received something new and didn’t pay full price. I didn’t pay the going price for that book because God made a way for me to be shown favor in a moment in time. Barabbas didn’t pay for his sins because through Jesus, he was shown favor.
On this Wednesday of Holy Week, Barabbas serves as a reminder that Jesus took our place on that cross. The only thing we did was show up at the right place at the right time in the presence of God with our sins. Jesus did the rest. Jesus paid it all.
Today, as you reflect, think of the many times, you were shown favor and didn’t have to pay the full price for something. Then, think of the times you were shown favor and didn’t pay the full price for the sins you committed because Jesus took your place. Think of Jesus, Our Replacement.