John 19:16- Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Hello there….My name is Barabbas AKA Jesus Barabbas… JB for short. All my life I have been trouble. My mother said she wish I would shut my mouth sometimes because I always had something to say and was always starting trouble. My sisters and brothers were sick of me because I was the boss over them even though I was not the oldest. I had to have my way…in fact it was my way or no way. I left home in my early teens because I thought I knew it all and I also bought a lot of shame to my family because I was a thief. I joined this gang of men who were talking a lot about taking over things and their ideals appealed to my young impressionable mine… so I did whatever I had to do for the cause even if it meant stealing and with that…it lead to other evil acts…and yes…I even committed murder!
I thought I was done for when I got caught and they threw me into prison. If fact…I was going to be killed…crucified as they called it. That’s what they did to criminals like me. While I was in prison…I heard about a man named Jesus. They say He was a king of some sought…there were even claims that he was the Son of God. Go figure that! Who would be that crazy to make a claim like that? So like…I’m sitting here in this nasty rat infested prison waiting to d-i-e….and I hear my name being shouted in the streets. I’m thinking….”these folks really want me dead!” Next thing I know…the guards are coming to my cell and they open the door and tell me I’m free…”go…get out of here”! So I left and returned to my gang.
I was curious as to why I was let out…so I nosied around and found out that there was a man named Jesus who I heard rumors about when I was in jail who was going to be crucified in my place. They say He didn’t really commit any real crimes. He was beaten and tortured and they were going to release Him… but the people shouted for my freedom and instead of letting this guy go….they released me! Hey…lucky for me I thought to myself.
It was about the 6th hour of the day….I went to the place that is a known area where they crucified people and I asked around in the crowd… “Where is this Jesus who is being crucified today?” Someone pointed and said to me….”see those three crosses over…it’s the man in the middle”’
So I went over there and saw a few people by the cross who looked so sad. There was some women crying and they seemed to be so heartbroken. As I looked up at those men on the wooden crosses… I looked at the man in the middle and I said to myself…: that should’ve been me” He didn’t rob anybody…he didn’t kill anybody…it should have been me!! This man called out to His Father in such anguish. The look on His face…I will never forget! He spoke to some people who were near the foot of the cross and also spoke to one of the men being crucified beside Him. The look on this mans face seemed to be relief and then peace.
Then the man in the middle mumbled some words and died. Right after this some incredible things started happening. I was so scared that I ran. On my way home I saw people who had died walking the streets…oh my goodness!!…scary stuff!!…..nothing was wrong with them!!! There were other shocking stories of other things that happened that day. Then the most shocking of all…about three days later…there were rumors that this man in the middle was alive again…walking the streets in fact!!! What in the world is going on here?!!!!!!
I began to ponder all of these events and I pondered about my life and how it was spared. My heart was so broken over all the evil acts I committed and I felt such conviction in my heart. I felt something I never felt before…guilt. I left my gang and sought out some of these followers of the man in the middle. They called themselves…disciples. My life is really changed now…I finally have peace…I feel like a new person with this man in the middle in my life….I’ve even reconnected with my family…and I owe this all to….the man in the middle….Jesus Christ…the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
In His presence,
Luke 23: 18-25 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Message for today: The man in the middle saved my life and I’m so grateful for all that Jesus did for me on the cross. May everyone get to know….the man in the middle!!!!!!!!!!