Yet the crowd before Pilate is unrelenting.
They demand Jesus’ death, crying out “Crucify him! Crucify him!” They shout for Pilate to condemn Jesus and release Barabbas – who “had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.” (Luke 23: 19 NIV).
I don’t know if it’s in the Greek, but that last phrase stands out to me – and for murder – as if Luke wants to drive the point home.
Jesus deserves nothing (but glory).
Barabbas deserves death.
Yet eventually Pilate relents. The crowd prevails. As Luke writes:
[Pilate] released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will. (vs. 25)
A man guilty of murder is released.
An innocent man dies in his place.
Sound familiar? I imagine it did to Luke, too. Which is why I think he intentionally wrote this last sentence as he did – to make the point that Jesus died in Barabbas’ place on the way to die in our place.
Pilate’s cowardly act of injustice in the Praetorium preceded – and was necessary for – God’s audacious act of justice on the Cross.
I’d love to know what happened to Barabbas after that. I wonder if he continued with his treasonous ways, shocked at the luck by which he was released.
Or if he stood in awe as an innocent man was lead away to die in his place.
Was Barabbas’ life transformed because someone died in his place?
Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 13:23-15:35 , Psalm 57:1-3, Proverbs 15:24-25, Luke 23:1-25. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).