I am Barabbas. I’m sitting in the corner of a prison cell, chains around my ankles. I am a murderer, a criminal. Any second now, the guards will call, “BARABBAS!” Hope is distant, death is near. I hear the crowd shouting outside and I feel my punishment looming over me. Crucifixion, the highest sentence. Crucifixion, my certain future. I feel the weight of my chains and the weight of my sin. I am nothing. There is no room for redemption now. “BARABBAS” This is the end. “BARABBAS!” and I am led up to the place where Pilate stands. Death is nearer than my next breath. Facing Pilate is a man I’ve heard of before. Jesus, and they say he is a king. I stand beside him today, and I am told that I’m free to go. My body is numb and a lump rises in my throat. How could this be? I can hardly breathe as the guards release me. My chains are broken, and He is bound. I am set free and Jesus is sentenced to the cross. Who is this Jesus? And who am I that He takes my place? I am Barabbas, a sinner. I am filthy. I am the lowest of the low. And because of this Man, I am walking away from death. I am liberated, my life is renewed. As I push my way through the crowd, I glance back over my shoulder and I see Him looking at me. I expect to see hatred and condemnation in His eyes. The guards are scourging Him brutally. His skin is slashed and scarlet blood is gushing out. They’re giving Him what I deserve, and He looks past the crowd, straight at me, with love in His eyes. I am Barabbas, the one set free, and this Jesus loves me.
My name is Natalie, and I am Barabbas. I am the thief, the murderer, the sinner. I am the one unjustly saved from death. I am the undeserving one. I am Natalie, and this Jesus loves me.