Daily Encouragement Net Header
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home   About Us  Archives   Free email subscription   ListenListen to these messages
<Previous Message                                                    Next Message

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I Should Have Been Crucified
One of my most treasured gifts is this small piece of art the church I served in New England gave me.
It depicts our role in the crucifixion of Christ.

ListenClick here to listen to us read this message on your audio player.

"I Should Have Been Crucified"

"Then he (Pilate) released Barabbas to them" (Matthew 27:26).

When I was a young Christian back in the seventies I was blessed by a song with the intriguing title, "I Should Have Been Crucified."  To this day, though I rarely hear the song anymore and am not a singer I can still recall the words.  It's got a great message about the Biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement.*1 But one person in history could have sang it in a very special way, Barabbas, who was released in Christ's place.  He could rightly have said, "I should have been crucified."

The Scriptures tell us very little about Barabbas and nothing concerning what became of him following his brief appearance in the Gospels as Christ's substitute.  He was a "notorious prisoner" (Matthew 27:16) who had been involved in murder and sedition (Luke 23:19).  John 18:40 reports he had taken part in a rebellion. In Roman law he deserved to die.

But he was released at the trial of Jesus, as the crowd clamored, "No, not Him. Give us Barabbas!" (The same crowd cried out "Crucify Him, Crucify Him" concerning Christ.)

I wonder what Barabbas thought when he heard this? Since he was in the city it's not unreasonable to assume that he witnessed the crucifixion, or at least the events leading up to it.
  • What did this man think and feel as he witnessed Christ taking his place? 
  • What was the rest of his life like? 
  • Did he eventually turn to the Lord who had become his literal physical substitute on the cross? *2
Heaven will have some interesting stories!

Bible teacher Donald Grey Barnhouse writes these thoughts concerning 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."

In several ways Barabbas is a type of the redeemed through all the ages.
  • We all, like Barabbas, are guilty, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
  • We all, like Barabbas, justly deserve death, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
  • We all, like Barabbas, are essentially passive as Jesus takes our place.  There's no suggestion that Barabbas had anything at all to do with his release. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).  "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
What was done to Jesus should have been done to Barabbas—and to each one of us.  We can all rightly declare, "I should have been crucified."  But Jesus God's Son took our place! That's the heart of substitutionary atonement.  Today, let us live with renewed commitment to this marvelous Saviour!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in my place on the Cross!

"I should have been crucified"    Lyrics      Audio

*1 The Biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement. It's interesting as I prepared today's message that the word "substitutionary" is not in the spellchecker in MS WORD. (I really rely on that spellchecker!) For a deeper study on this topic I suggest this article.

*2 A very interesting work of fiction concerning Barabbas has been written, as well as made into a movie that conjectures that he did become a Christian.

Note: Today's message has less than normal input from Brooksyne since she had a school appointment with Ester.

I Should Have Been Crucified
I took this photo of a stunning piece of art hanging in the foyer of an office building in Springfield, Missouri last year.
It has a similar theme as the one above.

Comment on this encouragement message

Sign up for the free daily email encouragement at www.dailyencouragement.net
New subscribers receive a link to free computer desktop background photos with Scriptures! 

Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.

Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com

© Copyright 2007 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552


"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"