Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 27:16, Mark 15:7, Luke 23:19, John 18:40, Mark 15:1–15:15, Matthew 5:21–5:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21
Week three of a four-week series leading up to Easter, where we discover how the story of Jesus' final days affects the direction of our own personal story
Who is Barabbas?
Matthew says he was a “well-known (notorious) prisoner” (27:16).
Mark says he was in prison with the “insurrectionists” (rebels) who had committed murder in the uprising (15:7).
Luke also says he was imprisoned for insurrection & murder (23:19).
John echoes that he had taken part in an uprising (18:40).
1. It was painful (beyond cruel and unusual punishment)
2. It was prolonged (far from immediate, it drew out the span of suffering)
3. It was public (out in the open for everyone to see)
Rome wanted to make a public example out of everyone who was crucified ("Don't mess with Rome.")
Mark 15:1-15 NIV
1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. 2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” 5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. 6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus & Barabbas at the Crossroads
Jesus the innocent one is condemned to death, while Barabbas the guilty one goes free. It's an incredible reversal of fortune. Hours earlier Jesus was sharing Passover with His disciples while Barabbas was rotting in a death-row prison cell.
Matthew 5:21-22 NIV
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
We are just like Barabbas
It’s not the unfairness of this Crossroads story that should bother us the most, but rather the resemblance.
The Heart of Christianity
It’s a story of substitution and grace, where Jesus (the Innocent One) bears the guilt of our sins and dies in our place, while sparing us from what we rightfully deserve.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Three Personal Crossroads Commitments
1. Admit your desperate need for Jesus. (Jesus died in your place)
2. Accept that you are cherished by God. (God loves you no matter what)
3. Respond gratefully with a life of serving others. (Choose service over selfishness)
Next Week (Sunday, April 16)
On Easter Sunday, April 16, we'll conclude our series, Crossroads, the place where our story meets His story. We'll see how the lives of other people intersected with Jesus in the final hours of His life - and His resurrection!
Join us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! We will have four services on Easter Sunday, April 16, at 8:00am; 9:30am; 11:00am; and 12:30pm. The services are identical and will last for an hour. We will also have programs for children ages birth through Pre-K in our TotTown area.
On Thursday night, April 13, at 6:00pm and 7:30pm, we will have our Maundy Thursday Communion Services. This is our worship opportunity to solemnly reflect on the suffering and crucifixion of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The services are identical and will last for an hour. Children's Ministries will be open for the 6:00pm service.