March 11: “Every Jesus-Follower is Barabbas”

4 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Numbers 15:17-16:40
Mark 15:1-47
Psalm 54:1-7
Proverbs 11:5-6

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Mark 15:11-13 (NLT): “But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. Pilate asked them, ‘Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’” 

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

In the verses that I have chosen for today, Pilate asked the crowd what they wanted him to do with Jesus. Certain things caused this question to be asked:

  • Jesus had been brought to Pilate by the envious, Jewish, religious leaders. They wanted Him killed once and for all.
  • The Jewish people reminded Pilate that it was the time of year when he had traditionally released a prisoner to them.
  • Pilate, believing Jesus to be innocent of any wrong-doing, offered the crowd a choice: Jesus or the murdering Barabbas (a convicted murderer and insurrectionist).
  • To Pilate’s amazement, the crowd chose Barabbas and demanded that Jesus be crucified.

Now, friend, if we were in that crowd and watched these events play out, our hearts would have been broken at such injustice. We would have wept as these words were welling up in our hearts: “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”

Yet, in this ugly scene, there is a beautiful picture: An obviously guilty man went free as Jesus took his place on the cross.

Friend, you and I are Barabbas in this story! We’ve been angry, so we are just as guilty of murder as he was (Matthew 5:21-22). We’ve also lied, stolen, looked to lust, refused to forgive, failed to sacrificially love, been filled with jealousy, and so much more! In God’s eyes, we are all lawbreakers.

But, when we place our trust in Jesus, relying upon Him to make us right in God’s eyes, then He takes our place on the cross. We get to go free because He forgives us and declares us righteous.

While we look down on Barabbas and cry “injustice,” his role is actually a beautiful picture of our guilt, God’s love and justice, and our freedom.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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