“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.) —John 18:38-40
There have been times when innocent people were wrongly convicted. The justice system is far from perfect because we live in a fallen, sinful world that is far from perfect itself. It is one thing to sincerely believe, because of the circumstances at the time, that a person was truly guilty of committing a crime, but it is quite another to KNOW the person is completely innocent and yet hand that person over to be executed!
Yet in the verses above, and then into chapter 19 of John as well, Jesus was declared to be innocent by the Roman governor, Pilate. Because of the vociferous crowd calling for Jesus to be crucified, Pilate released Barabbas instead of Jesus. “A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising” (Mark 15:7). Think about this for a moment. The crowd WANTED the innocent Jesus to be executed and they WANTED a murderer to be freed from custody instead of Jesus! They wanted the Creator and Sustainer of all things executed. The very one who gave the whole human race life is the One they wanted to kill!
This was the greatest incident of gross injustice ever to occur. Still, this was all in God’s plan and not outside His control. The Innocent One would be crucified in the stead of the guilty one. We, like Barabbas, should have forfeited our lives and yet Jesus took our place that “Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). God takes such a gross injustice, turns it around so that Jesus completed justice on our behalf that we could live forever by sincerely calling on His Name! Only God could accomplish this. Rejoice, there is now no condemnation for those of us who have truly trusted Jesus! (Romans 8:1).
Dear Father, it is amazing what You have done for us through Your Son. Oh, may I live in His authority and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, doing those things that are pleasing in Your sight.