15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:15-23)
This Good Friday I hope you see yourself as Barabbas. First, he was a “notorious prisoner”, who had broken the law and now was in bondage because of his crimes. Likewise, you have broken God’s laws and are living in bondage to sin as a result of your crimes against God. You may not be locked up in prison, but your sin has enslaved you and there is no breaking free.
Now see Jesus, the righteous and innocent. He was unlike you in that He always obeyed and followed the perfect will of His Father in heaven. He was never in bondage to sin because He never committed an act of sin. Jesus, unlike you, walked in true freedom with love and obedience to God.
Now see the exchange that took place on the cross. Barabbas the notorious sinner/prisoner was RELEASED to walk free, while Jesus the innocent was CONDEMNED and crucified. And in this exchange we hear the beauty of our own redemption song. That Jesus bled and died in our place of our sins, so that through faith we could be forgiven and set free in Him.
So thanks be to God, who sent His Son into the world to trade places with notorious sinners like us, so that sinners like us could trade our sin and bondage, for His righteousness and freedom. Now that’s a Good Friday.
(Image from bridgechurch.tv)