The choice that Pilate gave the nation was between Barabbas, the murderer, and Jesus, the Christ. The nation chose to have Barabbas released and Jesus executed. It has been suggested that the two thieves that were executed beside Jesus on the cross were probably the associate of Barabbas. They were most likely all sentenced to be executed together. If so, it’s rather evident that Barabbas was destined for the middle cross; but Jesus died in his place. This was a particular fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12, which says that the suffering savior “poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors…”

Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote this about Barabbas: “He was the only man in the world who could say that Jesus Christ took his physical place. But I can say that Jesus Christ took my spiritual place. For it was I who deserved to die. It was I who deserved that the wrath of God should be poured on me. I deserved the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. He was delivered up for my offenses. He was handed over to judgment because of my sins…. Christ was my substitute. He was satisfying the debt of divine justice and holiness. That is why I say that Christianity can be expressed in the three phrases: I deserved hell; Jesus took my hell; there is nothing left for me but His heaven.”

I love the verse that goes, “When from the dust of death I rise, To claim my mansion in the skies, Then this shall be my only plea— Jesus lived and died for me!

“Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:22)