6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. Mark 15:6-15
Pilate released a murderer into the crowd. He must have thought it was his lucky day. We have no idea what happened to Barabbas in the end. We do know what happened to the Man who took his place.
Thanks to the Jewish leaders, they helped rile up the crowd. They did that everywhere they want. These leaders were dividers and not uniters. They understood all too well mob mentality and used it effectively.
On the face of it, it wasn’t fair. A condemned murderer was now free but the one who literally did no wrong ever was condemned to die. That is about as unfair as it will ever be.
But it had to be this way.
If they had chosen Barabbas, we would not understand the sacrifice because there wouldn’t have been one!
If they had chosen Barabbas, we would go on our lives as wretched sinners in search of a savior.
If they had chosen Barabbas, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it.
If they had chosen Barabbas, our future and our present would be depressing.
But they chose Barabbas, and it is our gain at His expense, the very definition of Grace.