‘Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.’ John 18:40
Suggested Further Reading: Leviticus 14:1–8
Barabbas was a murderer, a felon, and a traitor. This fact is very significant. There is more teaching in it than at first sight we might imagine. Have we not here in this act of the deliverance of the sinner and the binding of the innocent, a sort of type of that great work which is accomplished by the death of our Saviour? You and I may fairly take our stand by the side of Barabbas. We have robbed God of his glory; we have been seditious traitors against the government of heaven: if he who hates his brother be a murderer, we also have been guilty of that sin. Here we stand before the judgment seat; the Prince of life is bound for us and we are suffered to go free. The Lord delivers us and acquits us, while the Saviour, without spot or blemish, or shadow of a fault, is led forth to crucifixion. Two birds were taken in the rite of the cleansing of the leper. The one bird was killed, and its blood was poured into a basin; the other bird was dipped in this blood, and then, with its wings all crimson, it was set free to fly into the open field. The bird slain well pictures the Saviour, and every soul that has by faith been dipped in his blood, flies upward towards heaven singing sweetly in joyous liberty, owing its life and its liberty entirely to him who was slain. It comes to this—Barabbas must die or Christ must die; you the sinner must perish, or Christ Immanuel, the Immaculate, must die. He dies that we may be delivered. Have we all a participation in such a deliverance today? Though we have been robbers, traitors and murderers, yet we can rejoice that Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us.
For meditation: What do you prefer to Jesus? Your family (Matthew 10:37), the praise of men (John 12:43), God’s creation (Romans 1:25) or your pleasures (2 Timothy 3:4)? The Lord Jesus Christ died to save people like you, but you will have to change your priorities and preferences (Acts 3:14–15,18–19).
Sermon no. 595
16 October (1864)