Matthew 27:15-25

Let’s take a journey back to a Roman prison cell in Jerusalem, some 2ooo years ago. It’s dark, very cold and damp, it's dirty, and you feel so lonely even though your shackled to other ruthless criminals. It’s filled with all types of critters (snakes, bugs, spiders, rats). It’s filled with other men who are about to face the same destiny as you are! TO SUM UP THIS EXPERIENCE! It’s not a very comfortable place to be to say the least! But there is a reason why we are there in this dark lonely cell. THE COURTS THE LEGAL SYSTEM OF THE DAY FINDS THIS MAN GUILTY OFMurder, a Theft, for being an Anti- Roman revolutionary, a rebellious person who is against the government. The sentence or final judgement for this man is DEATH! The form  of punishment is an old rugged cross. See! A person is nailed to this piece of wood through his hands on each side.....then they nail your feet together so that your posture is hunched over position! Which makes it hard to breath in and out as you hang their to die a slow and painfully. You stand in the position for many hours in the hot sun... until you give up your last breathe! (Modern Doctors would call this effectuation). NOT A VERY PLEASANT WAY TO DIE! IS IT?

According to Roman culture this was only reserved for the worst of criminals. The Jewish people forbid this form of punishment; they thought this was cruel and barbaric. The Jewish people believed this to be a curse from God. In Deut 21:23 it says “He who hangs is accursed of God” NOW THAT’S GO BACK TO THE DARK LONELY CELL OF THIS MAN
  • He is guilty without a shadow of doubt in a court of law.
  • He deserves and will be put to death for his wicked act according to Romans rules.
  • He has his spot reserved between to thieves! Why? He is a worst kind of criminal.
  • He is the very type of person the cross is reserved for.

SO IMAGINE WITH ME FOR A MOMENT YOU’RE HIM! You’re sitting in this cell waiting with great fear and anguish for the sound of keys to take you to your death.....the final resting spot called Calvary (translates: The Place of a Skull). You’re sitting in your cell hopelessly as you wait for them to call out your name next. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS RACING THROUGH HIS MIND AT THIS MOMENT? Nothing but complete fear! I don’t care how wicked a person can be; you are going to be extremely petrified for what is about to take place. But something happens that is completely changes the course of history for this man and for all humanity for that matters!
  • Your sitting in this cell chained to other criminals
  • You’re hearing the sound of people chanting louder and louder “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”
  • Your heart beat is getting quicker and quicker
  • Your blood pressure begins to rise
  • Your stress level goes through the roof
  • Your fate is closer than it was 5 minutes ago
  • Your about to take the long walk up the hill

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HEAR THE SOUNDS OF KEYS GETTING LOUDER AND LOUDER! You know in your heart, you know in your conscience it’s time! The guard opens the door and yells out your name “Barabbas, Barabbas, come forward! You are free to go!”
You stand their stunned, speechless, and amazed! You ask yourself the question: How can this be? Is this a some kind of sick Roman joke? You’re thinking to yourself, they released me for someone else! But, this wasn't uncommon to take place during this time of year (The Feast of Unleavened Bread). This was a Roman tradition for the Jewish people during Passover. IN JOHNS GOSPEL IT SAYS "But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!".........” John 18:39-40. But a man the likes of Barabbas, a notorious murderous rat, versus this Jesus fellow…no way! A guilty man is set free, is that justice? A murderer is about to be let go for the acts he has committed...is that Justice? A criminal is about to walk away a free man......is that Justice? A menace to society is free to walk wherever he wants to. Is that Justice? THE BEST ANSWER I'VE HEARD TO THIS QUESTION IS BY CALEB AND SOL. Which is where I got the title for my message and the quote that hangs on the wall in my office. “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that justice? No! That’s grace!”

SEE! GRACE IS DEFINED THIS WAY ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE: Appropriately, this is the free unmerited love and favour of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10. A state of reconciliation to God Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1-2. It’s a source of our calling? But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,” Gal 1:15. See it was by grace that Jesus took this man’s place that day! See it was by grace that Jesus allowed all these events to happen, which lead Barabbas to be released by Pilate. WHY? BECAUSE THIS SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED, RIGHT!
  • That’s not fair! That’s not justice!
  • What is wrong with this situation!
  • What is wrong with our society or our justice system!

Barabbas is a murderer and rebellious man to society according to (Luke 23:19). Mike Andrews is a wretched sinner who’s heart is deceitful and wicked (Jer 17:9). You are a lost sinner who needs Christ according to His written Word (Rom 3). Jesus didn't do anything wrong, which makes this grace for fallen man seem so much more personal and absolutely amazing! Why? Because...In Mark’s Gospel.........PILATE SAID “Why, what evil has He done? Mark 15:14. In Luke’s Gospel...........PILATE SAID "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.  Luke 23:14-15. The Apostle Peter, would write years later "WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH"; 1 Peter 2:22. The Apostle Paul Wrote “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21. Jesus showed such overflowing grace and love for fallen mankind...........Jesus took our place by humbling Himself for or sin by dying for you, me and Barabbas


Phil 2:6-8 it sayswho, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Isaiah 53:9 penned these wordsAnd they made His grave with the wicked (the guilty, condemned, ungodly) But with the rich (the nobleman's tomb Joseph of Arimathea) at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit (false, guile) in His mouth.” There was no reason for Jesus to face this kind of persecution. An innocent man died for the sins of the whole world


Isaiah 53:10 we read this painful reminder “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” This was the only way to fulfill the Father’s requirement for sin. The pleasure - God's gracious decree for the salvation of mankind shall be effectually carried out through the offering of His Son. As John Piper said “Jesus was not swept away by the wrath of uncontrolled men. He was bruised by his Father. Why? To resolve the tension between the Father's love for his glory and his love for sinners.”


“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU DID NOT DESIRE, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME.  IN BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN YOU HAD NO PLEASURE.  THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME— IN THE VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME— TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.' “Previously saying, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING, BURNT OFFERINGS, AND OFFERINGS FOR SIN YOU DID NOT DESIRE, NOR HAD PLEASURE IN THEM" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Heb 10:5-10The old sacrificial system was removed to bring the second “ONCE FOR ALL” All things are satisfied, complete through the Son Jesus Christ.

This was the only possible way for us to be reconciled to God. Jesus had to be forsaken, abandoned, and deserted by His Father so that we could have life! According to John’s Gospel. For three hours Jesus was feeling the weight of all mankind's sin, the weight of Hell poured onto Him. The cup of wrath was being poured out onto His body, soul, and spirit. As He was separated from the presence of the LORD. WHY? BECAUSE OF THIS STATEMENT “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that Justice? No that’s grace”. WHAT AN AMAZING GOD WE SERVEHe humbled, He freely, He fulfilled, and He Satisfied the Father’s anger to take the place of a guilty person, so that we can be reconciled back to God though His death on a cross! To make this more personal! In the book “Jesus On Trial”  By James Boice & Philip Ryken

Philip Ryken told his personal story of a Good Friday service he attended! He said this “when I attended a play based on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the most dramatic scenes came at the end of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, when the religious leaders began to call for Jesus to be crucified. Suddenly, some people sitting in the audience joined the mob, shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” While our attention had been drawn to the action on stage, some of the actors had slipped in from the back of the auditorium and had taken their seats among us. The effect of their shouting was to implicate the audience in the death of Christ. It was as if we ourselves were calling for his crucifixion. My first impulse was to quiet them down. “No!” I wanted to shout “Stop! You can’t kill him! He’s innocent!” But then I remembered that I was a guilty sinner, and that Jesus came to die for my sins too. In that moment I realized that even if I didn’t want Jesus to be crucified, I needed him to be crucified, because my salvation depends upon his cross. And so I laid down my resistance. I took my place in the guilty mob and said in my heart, “Crucify Him! Yes, Crucify Him, if he will be crucified, for I am a sinner who needs a Saviour.”

CAN I ASK YOU THE FRIDAY QUESTION! Are you guilty for what you have done? Are you free by the Blood of the lamb? Are you saying in your heart if you were there “Crucify Him, Crucify Him?” “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that Justice?
No, that’s grace” 

(Revision) I quoted saying Joseph went with Abraham in my audio sermon. I meant to say Issac. Sorry and God bless! SDG


Vincent Rhodes said…
Good post. Jesus bring a reality of grace that few of us could imagine, or see coming.

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