“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.” Deuteronomy 7:6
It was just a matter of time and Barabbas knew it. Because of the uprising against the Roman Government he had participated in and the cold-blooded murder he had committed, death row was his new home as he awaited the dreadful visit from the executioner. I’m sure that as his cell door opened, the lump in his throat must have been replaced with elation when the prison official told him that he was free to go. “But what happened?”, Barabbas must have said. He knew he was guilty of murder, and as the committer of a most severe crime, he knew there was no way around it. He would have to die. He must have looked confused as the official explained that because of an annual tradition of letting one prisoner go free during the Feast of Passover, he had been selected. 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, what Jesus had come to do for the entire world. He had come to take all of mankind’s guilt upon Himself, and in exchange, give all of mankind His righteousness. He would die so that all could be pardoned and free.
In Moses’ last words to the Children of Israel, he told them that they were not the beneficiaries of the Promised Land because of anything good they had done, or because they were the biggest and best nation around. No, in fact all of the opposite was true. They were the smallest of all nations and undeserving because of the many times they had rebelled against the Lord. Yet, in all of that, His love for them was unending. All He ever wanted to do was love them and show them His goodness.
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.