In my quiet time this morning, God showed me something that blew me away. I’ve been reading through the book of Luke and today I read about Jesus’ crucifixion. But before Jesus was sentenced to death, Pilate did something incredible. He offered to free one prisoner – Jesus or Barabbas. Barabbas was a known criminal and murderer. Yet the people all screamed “release Barabbas and kill Jesus”. And Pilate did just what they wanted. He set Barabbas free and Jesus went to the cross.
As I thought about that picture, I realized that it was a picture of what God setup in the OT. When the priest came to sacrifice for the sins of the people, he took 2 goats. Then he cast lots and one was made to be a sacrifice to God for the sins and the other was released as a ‘scapegoat’. I had never noticed this before. Here was this felon who deserved death, but he was set free like the scapegoat and Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins.
And check this out, in Leviticus 16:26 it says, “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water…” Isn’t that what Pilate did when he freed Barabbas and handed Jesus over to be crucified? I found this parallel intriguing.
Aren’t we all that scapegoat? We’ve all done things that have offended God and others. We’ve all sinned. In a way, we are all like Barabbas. Sure you don’t think of yourself as being THAT bad, but in the eyes of God’s perfection…you are. I guess you could say we are like Barabbas in this story.
Next time you talk to Jesus, thank him for taking your place!