Word pictures are a very clear and illuminating way to convey a message to an audience. Here in this gospel written by John Mark, God the Holy Spirit (moving this man along) paints for us a crystal clear picture of the substitutionary atonement or payment for sin our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. Our Lord has been taken by the Jewish religious leaders and now handed over to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. The Romans at this time had many Jews in custody for the commission of varies types of crimes. Also during this time of the feast of Passover, Pilate was accustomed to releasing one Jewish prisoner as an offer of good will perhaps to stay in somewhat amicable co-existence with the Jews.
Pilate after communicating with our Lord earlier saw and found nothing in Him deserving of death. He had also been warned by his wife who had a dream about our Lord and maybe was the means God the Father used to give this man one last chance to repent (change his mind). The mercy of God the Father was still extended to Pilate, the religious rulers, and the crowd even up to the point of our Lord being nailed to the cross. They were all given one final opportunity of repentance. Therefore, Pilate being pricked in his conscience by the few words from our Lord and by what his wife had spoken to him, brought forth one of the vilest, vicious, and vulgar of the criminals (Barabbas) in their custody. Pilate was sure that even though these religious Jews handed Christ Jesus over to him that they surely would not call for the release of this despised Jew Barabbas over Jesus, the King of the Jews. However, he did not realize it was for these very words (Jesus, the King of the Jews) that these Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees wanted our Lord dead.
Acts 3:13-15 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. NKJV
They did not see Him a lowly peasant in their eyes as the King of Israel. They were sure their King (Messiah) would come as a refined, regal, and royal conqueror. They miss-interpreted the Old Testament, the Psalms, and the Prophets words as many do today with the gospel and all the other Scripture to their own destruction. The man Barabbas was chained with his fellow rebels (see the article entitled “Chained with His Fellow Rebels”, http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=92559 ) and he was a murderer. So it was already factually proven that this man deserved death, but we know our Lord was innocent and even Pilate found no fault in Him. Now the Jewish leaders and the people cried out for Barabbas (the proven criminal) to be released and for our Lord to be crucified. Pilate, even though his conscience was speaking to him telling him to release our Lord, through fear and intimidation wanting to appease the crowd (see the article entitled “Wanting to Gratify the Crowd”, http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=95038 ) and squash any potential uproar released Barabbas and scourged our Lord brutally and crucified Him.
They did it for evil but God the Father before the foundation of the world purposed this act to show forth clearly how the innocent Man Jesus dies in the place of the guilty man Barabbas. It is the picture of the invisible, irrevocable, and inarguable love of God for the profane, wicked, immoral, and sinful human beings that recognize themselves as sinners and come to the cross broken, contrite, and repentant desiring to have their sin placed there on Jesus and receive His righteousness. This is Substitutionary Atonement and it is what God’s love demonstrates to criminals like Barabbas, and you, and me. Everyone need but place their name in Barabbas’ place and they too will live truly for the first time as they will realize the weight of their sin and its power lifted from their soul and taken away in the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 23:6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. NKJV
Hebrews 7:26-27 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. NKJV
1 Peter 1:17-21 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. NKJV
1 Peter 2:21-25 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness --- by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. NKJV
“You never hear Jesus say in Pilate’s judgment hall one word that would let you imagine that He was sorry that He had undertaken so costly a sacrifice for us. When His hands are pierced, when He is parched with fever, His tongue dried up like a shard of pottery, when His whole body is dissolved into the dust of death, you never hear a groan or a shriek that looks like Jesus is going back on His commitment.” Charles Spurgeon
“God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.” “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” C. S. Lewis
“If you are ready to partake of grace you have not to atone for your sins--you have merely to accept of the atonement. All that you want to do is to cry, ‘God have mercy upon me,’ and you will receive the blessing.” D. L. Moody
“The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while upholds and demonstrates the righteousness of God.” John Piper
“Christ did not die simply that you might be saved from a bad conscience, or even to remove the stain of past failure, but to ‘clear the decks’ for Divine action.” Major Ian Thomas
“For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves, which does not arise on earth but comes from Heaven.” Martin Luther
“I am ready to meet God face to face tonight and look into those eyes of infinite holiness, for all my sins are covered by the atoning blood.” R. A. Torrey
“With regard to the question of sin, man is not required to do anything. He need only consider this an accomplished fact and he will reap the effectiveness of the death of Jesus in being wholly delivered from the power of sin.” Watchman Nee
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…