Luke 23:13–25 and Matthew 27:15–23 tell the story of Barabbas, a notorious prisoner who was set to be executed, and the crowd’s choice to release him instead of Jesus. As we reflect on this passage, we can ask ourselves, “Who am I in this story?”

Perhaps we see ourselves as Barabbas, the guilty prisoner who was set free. Barabbas was a notorious criminal, a rebel who had committed serious crimes against the Roman government. He was deserving of punishment and death. Yet, in a remarkable turn of events, Jesus took his place on the cross, and Barabbas was set free.

If we see ourselves in Barabbas, we can recognize the undeserved grace and mercy that we have received from Jesus. Just as Barabbas was guilty and deserving of punishment, so are we. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been set free from the penalty of our sins. This should fill us with gratitude and motivate us to live lives that honor Him.

On the other hand, perhaps we see ourselves in the crowd that chose to release Barabbas. The crowd was swayed by the religious leaders, who had stirred them up to demand Jesus’ execution. They chose a criminal over the Son of God, preferring the immediate satisfaction of their desires over the eternal consequences of their actions.

If we see ourselves in the crowd, we can recognize the temptation to be swayed by the opinions and desires of others, even when they lead us away from what is right and true. We can also recognize the danger of prioritizing our own short-term interests over the long-term consequences of our actions. We must be careful to seek God’s guidance and wisdom, and to resist the pull of peer pressure and worldly values.

In either case, whether we see ourselves in Barabbas or in the crowd, the implications are clear. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and we must turn to Jesus to receive His grace and forgiveness. We have to be vigilant to resist the influences that would pull us away from following Him. May we be filled with gratitude for the grace we have received, and like Jesus, willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others.