“Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him”
Pilate made one last effort to have the crowd agree to his releasing Jesus. Seemingly coincidentally it was the time for him to release a prisoner chosen by the people. He gave them the choice between Jesus and ‘a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.’ Maybe even he was sickened when they chose the guilty Barabbas over the innocent Christ. But he was now committed – and he released Barabbas.
How must Barabbas have felt when he was brought before the governor and the crowd – and then told that he was free to go? Perhaps he turned and looked at the man who was to take his place – and could their eyes have met? What would have gone through his mind as he walked away into the crowd – and even later when he stood on the fringes and watched as his redeemer was crucified and died?
Maybe he felt the unfairness of it all, particularly as he learned more about the man they called Jesus. But it would have been expecting too much for him to have objected to his freedom at the cost of the life of another. For after all he might have faced crucifixion himself and only an idiot would choose to die that way so that another could go free.
Yes, only an idiot – certainly not a Messiah or the Son of God for they would be far too important.
And three days later when the stories of a resurrection began to circulate what then did he think? Perhaps he wished he had not grinned quite so triumphantly at his condemned liberator as he passed on to the freedom of the world.
Yes, He did warn us about valuing our life in this world over our life in the next.
(Picture from The Passion of the Christ)