The Release of a Murderer

Following is adapted from an article written by C.I. Scofield

Barabbas sat in prison. He was notorious for rebellion and murder in the city of Jerusalem (Luke 23:25). He waited for the day of his crucifixion for his crimes. His sentence was just. The day had come. He would be nailed to a cross in the middle of two other crosses; prepared for two other law breakers.

It was the custom of the Roman authorities to release a prisoner at Passover to appease the Jews (Mark 15:6). Unbeknown to Barabbas, the Jewish leaders would request his freedom so that Jesus could take his place. Barabbas had committed murder and was under the righteous condemnation of the law (Mark 15:7).

Barabbas was guilty. Jesus was not. He had done nothing deserving of condemnation under the law (John 8:46; John 19:4). Jesus was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus was a true substitute for Barabbas. He actually would die in his place. Jesus, as an innocent person, would bear the very penalty which the law had justly pronounced on Barabbas. (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; I Peter 3:18)

Barabbas had done nothing to deserve his reprieve.  It was granted to him simply by grace. (Eph. 2:4-9; Rom. 4:4-5).

He knew that if Jesus would die, he would live. The only question before Pilate was whether Christ should die or Barabbas. When it was decided that Christ should die, Barabbas was set free. His assurance was complete the instant that his Substitute (Jesus) said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 5:19)

The same could be said of you or me. We are the same as Barabbas. Jesus took his place, but He also took our place. Like Barrabas we are condemned sinners helpless to change our situation. But God in His infinite love, mercy, and grace provided a Substitute to take our place. Jesus’ death paid our sin debt. We have no debt to pay He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). His resurrection proved that God was completely satisfied with His payment (Rom. 4:25).

Have you trusted in Him for the forgiveness of all your sins (past, present, and future)? Have you been restored to a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have trusted Christ, Easter time is a great opportunity to share the good news with others. With all that is going on in the world, people’s mortality has become real to them. You can share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ by sharing the following link:

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Thank you for visiting You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

2 thoughts on “The Release of a Murderer

  1. Very good personalization of us being guilty yet Jesus literally taking our place. Thank you my Savior!!


    1. Thanks Ed. I adaptd the article and added a couple paragraphs becasue I thought it made it very clear that we all are like Barabbas. Indeed, Thank you Jesus for His most indescribable gift! II Cor. 9:15



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