Barabbas or Jesus?

God has spoken to us since the beginning. He made a perfect world full of delight and beauty and created a man and a woman to inhabit the Garden of Eden. Only one rule: don’t eat the fruit of that one tree with the knowledge of good and evil. Satan was probably listening and rubbing his hands together. First doubt he planted: God really doesn’t want the best for you. He also planted temptation: You can be like God. (Or – you can be your own god.) So, Eve ate and offered the fruit to Adam standing by and watching (and waiting to be served?). Each ate and we all inherited their nature to want to rule our lives (as well as others).

That was the end of a perfect world. In the next generation, Cain killed Abel. Cain’s descendants boasted of killing over an insult. They became man hunters. Women became chattel. Immorality and depravity thrived. Fallen angels (Nephilim) were inbreeding with humans to create a super race. Seeing how wickedness reigned, God cleansed the earth with a worldwide flood, while keeping one man (and his family) alive. Alas, they were sinners, too. They still had that inherited nature of Adam and Eve. We all do.

Right from the beginning, we needed a Savior and Lord. Right from the beginning, Jesus was there – the Word that brought everything into being, walking in the garden with Adam and Eve, as God, but also as loving friend, grieving over the consequences they wrought while offering a promise of hope. Right from the beginning, God told them the end of the story. HE will overcome sin and death and make things right. At great cost: Himself — Jesus, God the Son, the Word who was and is and is to come.

Pontius Pilate let the people decide who would live. Barabbas means son of father, son of a man with the inherited sin nature. Jesus was the Son of God, the Father, pure and holy. Barabbas was thrown into the Roman prison for insurrection and murder. Jesus overturned religious tradition. He was the perfect representation of God Almighty. He healed the sick, lame, blind and raised the dead. He had fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. A word from Jesus stopped storms and calmed seas. He offered peace and life to all. Barabbas offered war and death. The people shouted their choice. Free Barabbas. Crucify Jesus.

It took the death of an animal (possible a lamb) to cover Adam and Eve’s original sin of rebellion against God. It took the life blood of Jesus, holy and blameless, to atone for every sin past, present and future committed by thought, word or deed by all of us. He drank the full cup of God’s wrath to save our lives and left us with the choice. Sin and death or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, new life, and transformation.

Easter will be celebrated soon. Good Friday is the day Jesus died to save us. Easter Sunday is remembered as the day He arose. Forty days later, after hundreds saw and heard Him, He ascended. He’s coming back. He gave a warning: No one knows when; so be ready.

Barabbas eventually died, probably violently. Jesus conquered sin and death and lives forever. Whom do you choose to follow? Barabbas or Jesus?