You Are Barabbas

Jessus set you free
  • we’ve all been given a gift from someone that we didn’t use- sometimes I’ve given people a gift and wondered- did they ever use that vertical onion slicer?
  • Today we’re going to look at someone who was given a gift and see what he did with it
  • John 18:39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
  • TITLE- You are Barabbas


  • The custom of the Romans was to release a prisoner on passover
  • there are sources that record examples of other Roman governors releasing prisoners, even at Passover
  • Josephus records that when the Roman governor Albinus was preparing to leave office he released prisoners who had been incarcerated for crimes other than murder. (Antiquities 20.9.3).
  • A piece of papyrus also records a Roman governor of Egypt saying: “You were worthy of scourging but I gave you to the crowds.” (P.Flor 61, c. AD 85).
  • The purpose of this was to appease the jews- the Governor felt if he released a prisoner- then it would appease them as they were under Roman rule
Jessus set you free

FVC Worship


  • The problem with this is a double take- On one hand- Pilate offers Jesus to be released, to appease the Jews. On the other hand if he kills their king, he is going to start an insurrection
  • The Jews are actually put on the spot in this interaction- If he is your King- accept his release and receive him as such
  • OR Allow me to kill him and admit that he is not your king, that he is not your messiah, and lets move on
  • Pilate says- either Blood is on my hands or your hands- you make the choice- (later wash hand)


  • the Jews say- its on us we want Jesus dead- he’s not our king
  • The response of the Jews- He’s not our King, give us Barabbas!
  • Now, Some gospels refer to this Barabbas as a murder, a robber, a instigator in an insurrection
  • This Barabbas was known to the Jews- it wasn’t just a random Guy- They called for him by Name
  • Mark 15:11-15  READ
  • You’ll notice- Pilate didn’t give them an either or- he said “who” and they called for Barabbas
  • Bar-Abbas- Son of Abba- Son of the Father.  The people wanted Jesus to die and for them to receive this criminal- this robber- this murderer who was known as the Son of the Father
  • The Jews had a chance to have Jesus released- but they released barrabas instead
Jessus set you free



  • But why? Why would the Romans have this custom? Maybe to appease the people they were oppressing
  • Why did God have it this way? Because it appears as if the Jews are being nasty, and sending poor innocent Jesus to the Cross as a means of punishment for not being the king that they wanted him to be
  • And that very well may have been the truth- but here’s another option
  • The “Day of Atonement” (Yom Kippur) was the most sacred and important day of the year for the Jews.  This was the day of national mourning and repentance of sin.
  • We find it in Leviticus 16
  • On this day the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and offer up a sacrifice for his sins and a sacrifice for the sins of the whole nation. He would offer up 2 goats for the sins of the people
  • Both started off pure. They cast lots- one was for the offering- one was the scapegoat
  • The scapegoat was released into the desert.
  • Today people use the term “scapegoat” with the direct opposite meaning as it has in Leviticus 16.
  • people think of a scapegoat as the one who takes all the blame for a crime, allowing others who are guilty to go free.  as in “I was the scapegoat, I took all the sin”
  • The Hebrew word here has a different meaning.  The “scapegoat” is the one who escapes and goes free while the other goat is sacrificed for the sins of the nation.
  • Leviticus 16:20-22:READ
  • It is true that in the Levitical ritual the scapegoat does bear the sins of the people upon it.  However, it is the other goat that dies to pay for those sins.
  • The point of this ritual is that, while both goats started out pure, the released goat (scapegoat) is now “guilty”, tarnished, and sinful.  It is the guilty goat that is released while the innocent, pure goat is sacrificed.
  • This is a precursor of what happened on the ultimate “Day of Atonement”, when Jesus was crucified for our sins.
  • Jesus Christ, the pure, sinless, holy, undefiled sacrifice is found “not guilty” by the courts, yet he is sentenced to a brutal death (just like the goat).
  • While Barabbas, a guilty man (a notorious criminal, murder, and rebel) was released and set free.
  • Barabbas is a scapegoat.  He is chosen by the crowed to be released instead of Jesus.  He escapes the punishment that he rightfully deserves because of the sacrifice of the sin offering.
  • But what happened to Barabbas?
  • Here’s a guy who was one of the first people that Jesus saved, or at least, he saved his life, I’m not saying he was saved
  • There isn’t any mention of him in the Bible past this reference
  • This guy- who was the guy who was released to go free, even though he was guilty- should have had a lot more references in the Bible- He should have gone and done something with his life
Jessus set you free

Blessings Wall

What should have Barabbas done?

  1. He should have stuck around
  • See, Jesus best stuff hadn’t even happened yet
  • Now, I’m going to conjecture for a moment here- but according to the scriptures, Barabbas wasn’t at the resurrection- he wasn’t at the transfiguration- he wasn’t at the cross
  • No- he’s no where to be found in the scriptures- I would have loved to see a scripture that said
  • “And then Barabbas stayed in Jerusalem, his mind set on observing what would happen with Jesus”
  • The truth is- many people miss out on the move of God because they don’t stick around
  • They get what they get from Jesus- and move on with their lives- no real concern for what is to come or what could happen next
  • or, they leave before the blessing comes (Guys at wedding with Jesus, left when wine gone)
  • Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
  • Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
  • are you going to be a Barabbas? Are you going to disappear, or stick around and see what happens after the blessing?
  • When you stick around and wait for the blessing, you get to be a part of the victory- you get to see God do big things
  • I often think about the people who didn’t stick around in the early years of the church- people who didn’t wait to see the big things that God was going to do-
  1. He should have went and told people what happened
  • See if Barabbas would have stuck around- he could have went and testified to what he had happened
  • Lets recap here- Murderer. Insurrectionist. Robber. hardly a son of the Father
  • Barabbas should have went and told EVERYONE what happened-
  • “So there I was, about to be put to death, and this GUY you know, the one everyone has been talking about, they set ME free instead of HIM…INSTEAD OF HIM”
  • he could have seen- all the glory of God- all the miracles of the resurrection
  • He should have been proclaiming- I WAS SET FREE! I WAS BOUND! I WAS SET FOR DEATH!
  • He should have been saying like the psalmist
  • Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.
  • See, to me, a person that has been helped- usually can’t help but tell people what happened
  • at this wedding- Guy comes up to me “pastor we need to talk” supposed to be on flight 11
  • He sure had a lot that he could be thankful for- a testimony to share with someone
Jessus set you free

Communion Sunday

  • Are you telling people what Jesus has done in your life?
  • Have you shared with someone what he is doing or has done in your life?
  • Can you imagine if he went back to his town, and people saw him, and wondered- I thought that guy was sentenced to death?
  1. He should have went and lived a better life
  • He was guilty- Jesus wasn’t. Barrabas deserved Death- Jesus didn’t
  • See this picture of Barabbas paints such a picture of our life in Christ- we are all Barabbas
  • We all deserved death- we all deserved to die- but God, in his mercy- Sent Jesus to the Cross instead of US
  • I would hope, that Barabbas didn’t go back to murdering, insurrecting, and robbing
  • I really really hope he didn’t go back to his old life
  • See, while Jesus wasn’t really the one who directly set him free (it was Pilate) he was the one who took his place- If Jesus would have been released- barabbas would have still been in the Husgow
  • 1 peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
  • Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
  • See- what Barabbas represents is a man who was sentenced to death, and then Jesus stepped in and took his place
  • Now, Barabbas was set free- not because of who HE is but because who JESUS was-
  • Jessica Lynch- POW- we used the mighty military to save her- Now she’s a school teacher!
  • How Barabbas lived after he was set free wouldn’t have changed the fact that he was set free-
  • Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
  • I just hope he did something with his life
  1. He should have went and made an impact
  • The perception that I have is that Barabbas life was Changed by Jesus- but it didn’t take him any farther than his freedom-
  • No further mentions in the Bible No further history of his life
  • There really isn’t any information about him- he could have made a much bigger impact with his life
  • Son of the father- Set free by the son of God- sentenced to death and set free by the one who sets free
  • What a life he could have lived! What an impact he could have had! What a change he could have brought to the world
  • Now, He may have done all this. But I haven’t heard about it.
  • Now, thats not to say that whatever you do for Jesus has to be big and huge and memorable
  • Maybe he did Go and do something. Maybe he did go change some lives
  • Prison ministry or something
  • The question is- are you going to be a Barabbas?
  • is your life going to be a life that is forgotten?
  • Has Jesus set you free and you aren’t remembering it?
  • were you sentenced to death, set free and now have sank into obscurity and nothingness?
  • Let TODAY be the day-
  • Jesus wants to set you free in the same way that Barabbas was
  • But he wants you to use this freedom as a means to propel into the world and change LIVES
  • You are Barrabas- but don’t fall in to obscurity- let your freedom be what propels you!
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