Give Me Barabbas?

Written by: Pastor Marvin Williams

“Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 

“So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 

“While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’ But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you? asked the governor. ‘Barabbas,’ they answered.” (Matthew 27 15-21)

Every day you and I are faced with the option of choosing Jesus or Barabbas. I wish I could tell you I always choose Jesus, but the truth is sometimes I, too, ask for Barabbas. If you are anything like me, sometimes you belt out and scream:

Give me Barabbas!
Give me Barabbas!
Barabbas doesn’t disturb me because I am Barabbas!
Give me Barabbas!
Give me insurrection.
Give me rebellion.
Give me murder
Give me darkness.
Give me selfish ambition.
Give me pride.
Give me self-promotion.
Give me an undisturbed conscience
Give me company among the irreverent.
Give me Barabbas!

Just don’t give me Jesus, the one who is called Messiah
He disturbs my values.
He upsets my world.
He challenges my lifestyle.
He quakes my stability and equilibrium.
He calls me from comfort to sacrifice.
He calls me from ease to pain.

I’ll take Barabbas, thank you very much.
He doesn’t really expect anything from me.
He wants to develop a subdivision in my soul and live there, hideout there.
Give me Barabbas!
Jesus is too subversive.
I don’t think I want Jesus.
His way is too costly.
His words are too hard.
Give me Barabbas!
I am Barabbas!
Give me my way, my selfish desires.
Give me freedom from sacrifice.
Leave me to my own devices and vices.
I don’t want change, but I need change.
I don’t want Jesus, the one who is called Messiah, but I need Him.

Give me Barabbas!
No! Give me Jesus!

I have spent way too much of my life choosing Barabbas. Today is a new day to choose Jesus, the one who is called Messiah. Barabbas must be silenced, rejected and refused. Today, right now, in this instance, give me Jesus, the one who breaks the grip of Barabbas. Give me Jesus, the one who became Barabbas so that my sins could be forgiven and I could go free.

Today, in this moment and in this instance, I choose Jesus.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” – 1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)

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