Spotlighted Scripture: Read Luke 23:1-25.
I AM BARABBAS
by Jenny Gemmill
Sitting in a damp dark cell, waiting. Waiting to receive the punishment that I deserve. My name is Barabbas. I am a protester, fighter, murderer... deserving the death I have been assigned. So I am waiting for the guards to come to take me to my death- my cross.
The crowds outside sound so loud and angry. So much yelling and shouting. Wait... I think I hear my name. Why are they shouting my name? All I ever wanted was to fight for Jewish freedom from Roman oppression. So what if someone died- sometimes a few need to die for a good cause.
But why are they shouting my name? I hear "crucify Him, crucify Him" shouted over and over.
I know, I know I deserve to die- I am a killer, liar, chaos maker. I hear the guards coming- I am ready- oh God I don't want to die.
They throw someone into my cell- a man- He looks familiar but hardly recognizable. I hear a guard laugh and call Him "King of the Jews". This man, He too wants the Jews to be free but He fights with His words and His truth- He isn't like me- murderer, fighter, sinner.
"Barabbas, you are free"- Who me? Free- I look at the open door; I can leave a free man.
"Why", I ask quietly as I walked thru the door.
"He is going to take your place"- I look back and the guard is pointing at that man- the one they call Jesus the Christ.
"Taking my place?" I quickly run out the door.
Hours later I hear that they are crucifying that man called Jesus the Christ. He will carry the cross meant for me. He will take the punishment meant for me, He will die the death meant for me.
Oh God, I deserve that cross, I deserve that punishment, I deserve that death. But "I am free- He is taking my place".
All of the sudden the earth shakes so violently- I am flatten to the ground.
Later I hear that the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, the dead have risen and the man on my cross has died.
Who was that man that beared my cross? Who was that man that took my place? Who was that man that died my death? It should have been me but because of Him I am free.