The crucifixion story is something that we have heard in the church since we were small, and it is central to our faith because it was the pinnacle event in God’s work to redeem the world back to Himself. While it is the most horrifying story to hear, it is also the most beautiful part of the love story between God and His people. I have heard the story hundreds of times, read about it every Easter, watched movies like the Passion of the Christ, and still as a read it today I am overwhelmed by the fact that my King suffered such a death for me…despite all I do each day that makes me so unworthy.
There are different parts of the crucifixion and resurrection story that stick out to me, but one that I never really understood is the release of Barabbas. After listening to a sermon by Judah Smith, I saw the Barabbas story in a new light. In his sermon he describes the scenario of Jesus standing there beaten, bloody, and completely innocent. His only crime is loving people, feeding people, healing people, and sharing the truth about God.
On the other side stands Barabbas, a criminal, deserving of the death that he wouldn’t receive. I can’t imagine being Jesus and standing there listening to my people chant for my death, but he stood there silently like the lamb going to the slaughter.
When I was younger I would always question why in the world God would let these people release Barabbas and crucify Jesus? In Judah’s sermon, he made one statement that I’ll never forget. He said, “God had to treat Jesus like Barabbas, so he could treat Barabbas like Jesus.” That is what makes the story so beautiful. Jesus went willingly, knowing that he had to take Barabbas’s place. And not only his place, but my place and your place too. We are the Barabbas in the story even if it’s hard to admit. We deserve death, but Jesus took our place so that we can have His righteousness.
As painful as it is to think about the crucifixion sometimes, I have never felt more loved than I do in reading these words today.
Today’s author: Kayla Brewer