What happened to Barabbas?

15Now it was the governor’s custom to release one prisoner to the crowd each year during the Passover celebration—anyone they wanted.  16This year there was a notorious criminal in prison, a man named Barabbas.  17As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18(He knew very well that the Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)  19Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night.”  20Meanwhile, the leading priests and other leaders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.  21So when the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” the crowd shouted back their reply: “Barabbas!”  22“But if I release Barabbas,” Pilate asked them, “what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” And they all shouted, “Crucify him!”  23“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the crowd only roared the louder, “Crucify him!”  24Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!”  25And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”  26So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him. (Matthew 27:15-27, NLT)

What ever happened to Barabbas? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

I’ve often wondered how Barabbas felt when he was released because of Jesus. How did he live out the rest of his life? Was he grateful? Did he feel sorrow that an innocent man died so that he could be released?

Did Jesus’ sacrifice, which effectively freed him, have any impact on his life from that point on?

Of course, we don’t know the answers to these questions because the Scriptures don’t tell us, but these are questions WE are faced with because WE are Barabbas. Just as Barabbas was set free because Jesus was crucified, so we go free because of Jesus’ death. We deserve to die but we go free because Jesus dies instead, even though he was innocent and didn’t deserve to die.

If you’ve ever wondered how Barabbas responded to his new lease on life, just ask yourself how YOU have responded to the new spiritual life that Jesus’ death provides for you!

Reflection

What is your response to the fact that Jesus dies so that we can be released and set free?

How do react to the idea that Barabbas represents you and me and that we are notorious criminals, just as he was?

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