“The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness’.” Exodus 34:6
Because of the uprising against the Roman government Barabbas had participated in, and the cold-blooded murder he had committed, death row was his home as he awaited the dreadful visit from the executioner. As his cell door opened, the lump in his throat must have been replaced with elation when the prison official told him he was free to go. “But what happened?”, Barabbas must have asked. He knew he was guilty of murder and would have to die. He must have been shocked as the official explained that because of an annual tradition of letting one prisoner go free during the Feast of Passover, he was being released. And, he wasn’t selected because of anything he had done, but instead it was all because another man, Jesus, completely innocent and not guilty of any crime, had been sentenced to death in his place.
This exchange completely illustrated, in a microcosm, the clear picture of what Jesus came to do for mankind. Taking all of our guilt upon Himself, and in exchange extending to us His righteousness, is the Gospel. Jesus died so that we could be pardoned and set free, and He rose again to give us Abundant Life.
We can rejoice every single day that, just like Barabbas, Jesus became the prisoner sentenced to death, that we deserved to be, and in exchange He gave us His righteousness, making us pardoned and free.