Barabbas is often overlooked around Calvary. He was the recipient of the greatest of fortunes and the grandest of opportunities. Barabbas was a known criminal (Matthew 27:16; Mark 15:7; John 18:40). No doubt, he was anticipating the time of his death. If he feared death, his fear was full as the rooster crowed that Friday morning in Jerusalem. Just hours later, he would be hung on a tree.
Barabbas expected to die that day, but the eternal plan of God would supersede his expectations. As he sat in the prison, moments before being led away, he could hear the chanting of the people, “Crucify him, Crucify him” (Luke 23:21). A guard comes into Barabbas’ chamber, but the guard says, “You’re free.”
We do not know if Barabbas had even heard of Jesus. However, there was one fact that he did know about this Man from Nazareth: Jesus took Barabbas’ place on the cross. Barabbas knew that the deeds which he had done were deserving of death, but Jesus had committed no crime.
Barabbas was given the opportunity to start over. He was the one pardoned, having the sinless die in his place. As Jesus walked towards Calvary, and then was nailed to the cross, He did so for Barabbas. As He walked up that hill, and was nailed to that tree, He did so for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God provided the way for us to be saved. We can either choose a life of sin, or one of redemption. What will you choose?