Then Pilate said to Him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a robber.
(John 18:37-40, ESV)
I’ll never forget the first time I learned Barabbas means son of the Father.
Son of the Father. The people were literally pleading for a messiah, but they were so blinded by sin and their own ambitions and desires they missed what was right in front of them. They cried out for a Savior all the while the prophesied Messiah was standing a few feet away.
What is our Barabbas?
We all have one. The person, thing, activity or event we try to put the label “messiah” on. We long for redemption, though we can’t always articulate it, and we look for things—anything, really—or people (most of the time the elusive “one”), that will rescue us.
The marketing and advertising industry love this about us.
They make millions of dollars as humanity flutters about seeking a savior in what can be bought or acquired, not realizing the One for whom our hearts long paid it all on their behalf.
The human heart will not be satisfied by our Barabbases, our self-chosen and self-appointed saviors. Only Jesus. Only He can set free, restore, redeem and satisfy these thirsty hearts.
The people we read about in John 18 cried out for the robber, not realizing Jesus was also a robber. Even after being rejected and crucified by the people, He would die in love, rise in victory, and offer those same rejectors the offer to rob them of their sin and make them holy.
Our hearts (my heart) try to find satisfaction in the Barabbases of this world and they always come short because the cheap imitation saviors the world offers were never designed to quench our inner thirst—only the Living Water can do that.
So let’s go to Him, the glorious and unending well, instead of the broken cisterns our crazy society suggests.
“Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:11-13, ESV)