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Barabbas or Jesus? - part II

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | September 28, 2023 | Matthew 27:19-23


“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas” they answered. Matthew 27:21 (NIV)


The name Barabbas may indicate one or both of the following; son of the father or son of the teacher. Our previous devotional gave us a brief description of Barabbas, a notorious prisoner. However, we already know about Jesus and his identity as the son of God. When the governor presented the crowd with a choice of whom to release, they shockingly opted for Barabbas over Jesus. The chief priests and elders exerted their influence, swaying the decision in their relentless pursuit of Jesus's execution. However, we now realize that this seemingly human decision was, in fact, a divine orchestration designed to fulfil Scripture. There are moments when the pressures of circumstances and the will of man tempt us to choose things other than the path of Jesus. Jesus taking the place of the notorious prisoner was a divine arrangement which depicted the physical representation of what Christ did for us spiritually. The divine exchange; the sinless and blameless son of God, taking the place of sinful humanity and bearing the punishment of our sins. This exchange was arranged before the foundations of the earth and had to play out according to God’s plan even though the chief priest and the elders thought they were the ones calling the shot, God was in full control. (Read 1 Cor 2:8).


Often, we falter in trusting God because we fear the unknown outcomes of certain decisions. But that is the very reason why we must trust Him; for we do not know the future, but He holds it. Our fear makes our faith fail, but our trust in God makes it thrive. Let us trust in Him, even when it seems like it does not add up. Like the divine exchange, we are assured that the end results will be divinely influenced in our favour. All things work together for good.


LORD, I trust you completely. Amen.



______________ DAILY word study: RELEASE

The word "release" in Matthew 27:21 is translated from the following Greek word:

"ἀπολύω" (apoluō): This Greek verb means "to release," "to set free," or "to let go." It is commonly used in the context of releasing prisoners or setting someone free from captivity.

The word "release" in this context carries several important implications and lessons:

  1. Power of Choice: The act of releasing a prisoner highlights the power of choice. Pilate, as the governor, had the authority to release one of the prisoners. This choice emphasizes the responsibility that comes with authority and the consequences of decisions.

  2. Symbol of Redemption: The choice of whom to release symbolizes redemption. Jesus, the sinless Son of God, is offered for release, while Barabbas, a criminal, represents the guilt of humanity. This choice echoes the redemptive work of Christ, who takes the place of sinners and offers salvation through His sacrifice.

  3. Moral Dilemma: Pilate faces a moral dilemma in this choice. He knows that Jesus is innocent, yet he is pressured by the crowd to release Barabbas. This highlights the tension between moral integrity and public opinion, prompting reflection on the importance of making just and ethical decisions.

The word "release" in this passage also encourages us to contemplate the significance of the choices we make in our lives. It invites us to consider the moral and ethical dimensions of decision-making and reminds us of the redemptive power of Christ's sacrifice, offering us the opportunity for spiritual release and freedom.

Reflections: How does the concept of release and the power of choice resonate in your own life? Are there situations where you have had to make difficult choices, and what principles guide your decision-making process?

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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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