Reading: Matthew 27:15-26
(a) Ancient manuscripts tell us that Barabbas was even more than a robber. Indeed he was a TERRORIST!
(b) Think of Lockerbie! Think of the hostages in the Lebanan.
Think of the I.R.A. bomb in Omagh! Think of the atrocities in the Holy Land of today, and I think you get the picture!!
(c) This is the man who was chosen in place of Jesus on that first good Friday!
(d) We are also told that his name was most probably “Jesus Barabbas”, Jesus, not being an uncommon name in those days, and is actually another form of Joshua.
(e) This would explain why Pilate, when speaking of Jesus speaks of “Jesus which is called Christ,” the alternative, “Jesus which is called Barabbas.”
(a) There is absolutely no doubt that Barabbas was guilty of his crime.
(b) He was well known, and his crimes were well documented.
(c) With the type of person he was, he probably would have gloried in his crimes against Rome, rather than denied them!
(d) I often meet people in the pubs who glory in their sin, and take great glee in trying to shock you by telling you their misdeeds.
(e) Sometimes, those who feel themselves more respectable, are tempted to measure themselves against the obvious sinner, and make excuses for themselves.
(f) Let us make no mistake, without the forgiveness of Christ, we are guilty lost sinners, all tarred with the same brush!
(g) The Bible puts it this way, “There is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.”
[a] Because of that fact, like Barabbas, because of our guilt, we stand condemned without an excuse.
[b] The news is always full of comment when a British person goes to the electric chair in the United States, after being found guilty of a serious crime.
[c] A few years ago, even in our own country, if you had to stand in a court of law, and be judged for the crime of murder, and the case was proven against you, then the judge would put on his dreaded black cap, and condemned you to death, which in that case would have been by hanging.
[d] I don’t wish to open the debate about the rights and wrongs of capital punishment, and whether it acts as a deterrent or not, and whether or not we can always trust the convicting evidence given in court. If a court is wrong, there is never a way to put it right again! There is no way back!
[e] You and I stand condemned before a Holy God, without excuse or any extenuating circumstances to plead our cause!
[f] Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:18, “He that believeth not is condemned already.”
[g] Without Christ, we stand, guilty and condemned!
[a] Barabbas, no doubt had come to terms with his lot! He was to be a martyr for the cause!
[b] To expect any form of leniency from the Romans, would be ridiculous. Barabbas was one man they wanted to make an example of to deter any other would-be insurrectionists in Jerusalem and elsewhere!
[c] If there was anyone whose case was hopeless that day, it was Barabbas!
[d] How must he have felt when his cell door opened, and he expecting to go to his death, was told he was a free man, because another had taken his place!
Another would hang in HIS place upon the cross!
[e] He the guiltiest of men was free, because the sinless One had taken HIS PLACE AND WAS TO DIE FOR HIM!!
[f] Although the words had still to be written by the pen of Peter, Barabbas knew the experience of how “He bore our sins in His Own Body on the tree.”
[g] Let us remember, that THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY! To bring about the deliverance of Barabbas, Jesus had to become his SUBSTITUTE!
[h] Dear friends, let us remember that THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY FOR YOU AND ME, GUILTY HELL-DESERVING SINNERS TO BE SAVED - BUT THAT THE LORD JESUS TAKE OUR PLACE!
[i] When General McArthur met the supreme commander of the Japanese forces at the end of World War II, he walked over to him, ripped the glittering metals from his chest and stood on them. He took out his sword, broke it in two and, as the world watched, he declared total victory for all the allies and enforced the terms of surrender on the enemy. That's what Jesus did for you at the cross!
When He died and rose again, He stripped the devil of his power, took the sword out of his hand and declared "all power in heaven and earth is given to Me." (Matt 28: 18,19} Go in that power! Go in that authority! Go in that Name!
When Rheinhart Bonnke, the German evangelist, preached in Africa recently, a witch came into one of his services to upset it. The anointing on Rheinhart was so powerful, that he simply shouted "Hallelujah" and the witch fell off her chair and began to choke with an asthma attack and was carried out of the service.
If you're a child of God, you've been given the authority to enforce satan's defeat. (Lk 10:19} Use that authority today!
[j] He had to become YOUR SUBSTITUTE AND MINE, there on the cross, in order to bring about our deliverance from sin and it’s penalty!
[a] Over 30 years ago, I remember showing an old black and white film which looked at the crucifixion through the eyes of Barabbas!
[b] It was a very powerful presentation, and ended up with a transformed Barabbas saying words that have remained with me ever since, “He died for me! Now I must live for Him!”
We have no evidence to suggest that he actually became a changed man - perhaps for him the One Who died in his place meant nothing!
TELL ME TONIGHT, DOES THE ONE WHO DIED IN YOUR PLACE MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?
[c] The proof of the validity of the cross, is the fact that JESUS ROSE AGAIN BREAKING THE POWER OF DEATH AND HELL FOREVER!
If Christ had remained in the tomb, He simply would have been another dead martyr - not the author and giver of eternal life!
[d] There always seem to be plenty of people willing to follow blindly, those who would lead them to Hell! People like a past Bishop of Durham, Dr Jenkins, a man who was so obviously devoid of an experience of the Living Christ, masquerading as a minister of the Gospel!
HE WAS NOTORIOUS FOR CALLING THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST - “A CONJURING TRICK WITH A BAG OF BONES.”
There are others today, following in his footsteps - doing the devil's work of destroying faith! Dissecting the Church from within!
One day all of them, will meet their Maker, and be called upon to answer for leading so many away from the truth of God, upon which the very Gospel of Salvation is founded - the FACT that CHRIST ROSE AGAIN, BODILY FROM THE GRAVE AND LIVES TODAY, TO SAVE ALL WHO WILL COME TO HIM IN TRUE REPENTANCE!!
[e] He took your place and mine on that cross, just as surely as He took Barabbas’s place on Golgotha that day!
Many have heard me sing my song ‘Lonely Calvary’, part of which says, “It should be ME who dies!”
[f] Let us bow our heads for a moment, and think in the words of the Apostle, “The Son of God, Who loved ME, and gave Himself for ME!”
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
Prayer chorus of song 129 525
Alternative Songs:143, 149, 152 Chorus of Song 125.