Contemplating Good Friday, I wonder what role I would have played had I been in Jerusalem that day.

Would I have been one of the religious leaders who knew the scripture in my head, but not my heart?

Would I have been among the disciples who deserted Jesus out of fear for my life?

Would I have been one of the Roman soldiers who tortured Jesus, beating Him beyond recognition, while rationalizing that I was just doing my job? Would I have been one who, only after it was too late, realized Jesus really is the Son of God?

Would I have been one of the thieves who were executed along with Jesus? Would I have cried out to Jesus for mercy, only to be assured that I would be with Him in paradise that very day? Or would I have been stubborn like the other thief, denying that God Himself was next to me?

Would I have been among the crowd, taunting and cheering? Would I have spit on Jesus as He was led like a lamb to the slaughter? Would I have ripped a handful of hair from His beard? Would I have found sadistic pleasure in the savage display?

Would I have shaken my head, sickened by the injustice and inhumane treatment? Would I have had the courage to speak up about it or would I have simply gone back to my business?

Would I have been one of the few who stayed by Jesus, weeping at His feet?

What part would I have played on that day when God’s plan for reconciliation with His children was fulfilled?

None of those.

I’m Barabbas.

I’m guilty and the penalty was death.

I’m Barabbas.

I escaped the punishment I so deserve. I went free, ransomed, redeemed, and spared by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who suffered and died in my place.

I’m Barabbas.

It should have been me hanging on that cross instead of Jesus.

I’m Barabbas.

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