BARABBAS

Reading:  Matthew 27:15-26

 

INTRODUCTION

 

(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.”

 

POINT 1        GUILT

(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.”

 

POINT 2        CONDEMNED

 

[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!

 

 

POINT 3 UNDESERVED SUBSTITUTE

 

[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!

 

CONCLUSION

[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

SONG                                                                  TUNE

239                                                                       414

Prayer chorus of song 129                               525

125                                                                       28

360                                                                       741

Alternative Songs:143, 149, 152 Chorus of Song 125.