The Great Substitution: Matthew 27:15-23
“15) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16) At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17) So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18) For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over… 20) But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21) But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22) Pilate *said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all *said, “Crucify Him!” 23) And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”” Matthew‬ ‭27‬:‭15‬-‭18‬, ‭20‬-‭23
The story of Pilate offering Barabbas in place of Jesus serves as an illustration of the gospel. The innocent one was about to die in the place of the guilty one. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says; “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
We have no idea of the full crimes of Baraddas. He was simply called a “notorious prisoner.” Luke mentions he was guilty of an insure insurrection and murder. Pilate was certain the contrast was so huge the people would choose to release Jesus and condemn Barabbas. Who would choose the guilty in place of the innocent?
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas, and to put Jesus to death. What a picture of the Passover that unfolded that very night. The chief priest condemned the innocent lamb to be put to death that the people might live. The great substitute was being acted out in real life. The Lamb of God was taking away the sins of the people. (See John 1:29)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global