Saturday after Oculi
Scripture: St. Luke 23:1-25 (NKJV)
23:1 Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
3 Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”
4 So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”
5 But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”
6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. 7 And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. 9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.
13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “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; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” 17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”—19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.
20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”
23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. 25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
“And they all cried out at once, saying, ‘Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas’.”
Barabbas had been thrown in prison for rebellion and murder. He is not a good man, even by the standards of civic righteousness. He will never be able to stand before God based on his own merits or works. But he is a man curiously named. “Bar” means son, “abba” means father. So his name means “son of the father.”
And along comes Jesus, the Son of the Father! And Jesus takes Barabbas’ place under the law of Rome, bearing the punishment of crucifixion that Barabbas deserved, while Barabbas goes free. Jesus does more than that, of course. He, the Son of the Father, takes his place and our place under the holy Law of God, so that he, and we, may truly become sons of the Father.
The murderous, Christ-rejecting cries of the crowd are used by God to see His Son to the cross, so to pay the purchase price for the salvation of all mankind. It is done, and now, to all who believe in Him, Jesus gives all the blessings of His own Sonship, including the gifts of His own holiness and eternal glory with God in Heaven.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, I give You thanks that You have suffered in my place, and have given me Your saving mercies. As You have blessed me with the gifts of Your sonship and Your holiness, grant me grace to live up to Your righteousness in which You have clothed me. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.