A custom had evolved as a means to keep some kind of peace between the Jews and the Romans. As a gesture of kindness, one Jewish prisoner would be released at the time of the Passover. During Jesus’ trials, Pilate thought this may be his way out of dealing with Jesus. His plan did not work! Jesus was innocent, even Pilate knew this. Barabbas was guilty, and everyone knew this. He was a robber. So the guilty was released and the innocent was crucified! It should have been the other way around in terms of justice! Jesus should have been released, and Barabbas the robber and rioter should have been crucified. Not so, though, when it comes to redemption, for that is the way substitutionary atonement takes place. In order for the guilty to be saved, another must step forward to take on his rightful judgment. This is exactly what took place with Jesus and Barabbas. Jesus took Barabbas’ place. Who was Barabbas? I was Barabbas and you were Barabbas, if you are in Christ today. We were guilty before the Lord, and we knew it! We deserved death and punishment for our rebellion against a holy God. But when it came time for execution, someone stepped forward to take our place. It couldn’t just be anyone. It would have to be someone innocent, someone perfect who could lay down a perfect life to save a guilty soul. Now all those sacrifices in the OT begin to make sense. They foreshadowed the full salvation that was to come in Christ. He would be sacrificed on behalf of God’s people. He would be the substitute. He would take our place because we were Barabbas!