The reality of Jesus being the substitute for your sins is in front of you. How do you respond?

Not much is known about Barabbas, except for one thing: he was guilty. Guilty of some pretty serious crimes, too - sedition (rebellion against the government) and murder. Matthew 27:16 even calls him “a notorious prisoner.” People knew about Barabbas and how wretched he was. He was on death row, waiting to pay the price he deserved for the crimes he had committed. 

At his lowest moment, when the cards had already been played, and he could do nothing to change things himself or change the situation, his life intersected with Jesus’.

Jesus had been wrongly arrested for saying He was God - the truth of who He is. Pilate, the Roman governor, found Him to be NOT guilty, calling Him a “just man.” But the Jewish leaders were determined to have Jesus killed. There was a tradition where the Romans who were ruling over the Jews, as an act of goodwill, would release one prisoner every year on Passover. Pilate asked them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17)

Barabbas attempted to overthrow the Romans, trying to get salvation and freedom for his people by his own strength. He, of course, failed - just as we do when we try to get freedom or salvation by our own strength. 

The guilty man was let go, his guilt being wiped free. In his place, an innocent man would pay the ultimate price. Jesus was delivered to death, and Barabbas was delivered to new life - just as we are. 

What do you think Barabbas was thinking when he was told he was let free instead of Jesus? What do you think he was feeling? How did he react to knowing he was given a completely underserved second chance at life? The Bible doesn’t tell us. We don’t know if Barabbas changed his ways and learned more about this savior, or if he returned to his old ways. But ultimately, he must have been faced with the choice, just as we are. 

Jesus died in your place, just as He died for Barabbas. How are you going to respond? You are guilty of sinning, rebelling against God, but you have the opportunity to go free because Jesus paid the punishment you deserved. What are you going to do in the face of that? Are you going to turn to Jesus for forgiveness, or go back to the way you used to be?

Spend a moment in prayer. Ask God to show you the ways you are guilty. Imagine each of those things as a weight around your neck.
Now imagine Jesus, on the cross, taking each and every one of those off of you and placing them on Himself.
Spend some time handing those things over to Jesus.
Thank God for making a way for you to be free of sin, guilt, and shame.

The reality of Jesus being the substitute for your sins is in front of you. How do you respond?

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