GUARD: “You’re free to go!”
GUARD: “They took the Nazarene instead of you!”
It happened so fast. One minute Barabbas was in his cell on death row playing tic-tac-toe on the dirt walls. The next, he’s squinting his eyes at the bright sun. In many ways Barabbas stands for us; a prisoner freed because someone he’d never seen took his place. Someone tossed him a life preserver and he grabbed it; no questions asked.
I can’t imagine him pulling some of our stunts. We take our free gift of God’s grace and try to earn it or pay for it ourselves instead of simply saying, “thank you”, and accepting it. Barabbas may not have understood mercy and he surely didn’t deserve it, but he wasn’t about to refuse it. We, too, are prisoners with no chance for appeal. Why some prefer to stay in prison while the cell door has been unlocked is a mystery worth pondering!