The Barabbas Principle

 the barabbas principle

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law, and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans: they bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.”What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.”Crucify him!” they shouted. — Mark 15:1-13

The above scene is one of the most known of all stories in the Bible. It shows that even in the past there was sin everywhere, and that people rooted for it like they do today.

Jesus’ life was ended the moment the crowd voted “Barabbas.”

But even the tears shed in this story, and the inevitable death of Jesus Christ, were a good moments for God. That one perfect death had saved the lives of billions of imperfect ones.

It solidifies that Jesus came here for all of our sins, not specific ones. When Jesus was chosen against Barabbas He knew that the prisoner was a sinner above all men. When He saw the man he saw a cynical, evil mind, filled with a principle that we shall call “The Barabbas Principle“.

It is the principle that no matter what sin you can do, Jesus died for you. Our sins may be different, but we are all imperfect. We’re no better than any other sinner, and despite that, Jesus chose to die for us.

If he couldn’t die for the world’s evilest man, He couldn’t die for us. We are all Barabbas!

When Jesus saw Barabbas He saw a sinner, not a the world’s worst man (something that many present that day likely thought). When He saw all of us He saw a sinner. You can never be perfect: just being born made you a sinner, and that is not your fault.

You are the handiwork of God Himself, and He crafted you perfectly so you could be His in Christ, perfectly imperfect.

In James 2:10 it says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

When you commit one sin, you tip the scale of perfection. Trying to be perfect will never earn you to heaven. It’s like trying to catch the wind: once you reach out, it has already slipped through your grasp. That is why Jesus died. So He could bring us all home to the Kingdom of Heaven and bridge the gap between ourselves and God.

The Love We Should Show.

Now that you know of the Barabbas Principle, you should see some of the reasons why He died for even the worst of men. And nothing says it more than Jesus on the Cross.

He died so all of our sins could be washed in His blood, to be purified and cleansed, to be able to follow Him into Heaven.

In 1 Corinthians 4:4-7 it explains that ‘ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Remind you of anybody?

This verse is telling the characteristics of love, but what I am seeing is a person who waited ages for us to come (patience), a person who traveled the world to help others (kindness), a person who was always content and never jealous of another, (does not envy), and is not angered even in the most trying circumstances (not angered).

Seem like anyone you know? It is the perfect description of Jesus Christ.

He is the definition of love because He is love. When you think of love, always think of Jesus, because nobody can lead a better example than God in the flesh.

He died so that we could have the chance of going to heaven; He lost His life trying to bring us to heaven. That is the kind of love we should show: we should bring love to every corner of the world. If Jesus died for the vilest of criminals, we should show mercy and love more than we do.

In order to show the Word you must be able to show His love.

We should show Jesus Christ like the love He showed for us …

He didn’t see just the sin in us, and neither should we. He saw that one step missing to heaven, He saw that one imperfection that set us off. Sin. Sin brought us more away than we think. Think of it this way:

You buy some nice white shoes, with a white suit or dress, and white gloves. Moments later a car speeds past and splatters your shoes with mud. Now you have imperfect shoes. Walking anywhere dirties your shoes, and any activity will eventually dirty your suit.

So what is left for you to do? You clean them.

God sent Jesus to die so that we could all shine without sin separating us from God and hindering our soul.

When Jesus saw the Barabbas, He saw what great things we could do when we work together in His name. He looked at us with eyes full of love — he died for us. He knew that we are sinners, yet he knew that through Christ, we could do amazingly good things.

When you see a person, do as Jesus did. Do not pass judgement on them, but sit there and show love — show the Barabbas Principle in action. It doesn’t matter to God what we have done, what matters is if we repent and change that counts. When you are speaking or talking or being a friend to another person, think of the kind, never-jealous, patient, truthful, and death-defying love that Jesus gave us.

Trials And Riches

In the paragraphs above, you learned about the Barabbas Principle and the love that we should show. You saw that we need to share love to anybody, no matter what their sin, because Jesus saw all of ours and yet still died for us.

He never denied anyone His love. Neither should we. But just like He did, we should also pay attention to the trials that we all face, to see the love God sends us all in his justice.

We should all review Genesis Chapters 6-7. God flooded the world because of its evil, because He saw that it could not be changed.

Noah was the only person who still followed God in His everyday life. God asked him to build an ark, and Noah spent months doing as He requested — in spite of the laughter, mockery, and doubt he faced.

And with that you probably know the rest of the story. Noah was picked on, yelled at, called crazy, and taunted for living the life God had called him to lead — to be the ‘crazy man building the ark’.

He was never tempted and he never doubted the things God had said would come to pass.

Trials like these strengthen us. In 1 Peter 5:10 it says, ‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.’

Just like in James 1:12 it says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

You will have trials, but in that instant to you will be strengthened and rewarded.

The times that you think, “God can’t work on me,” is the time He really is working in you and through you. In the book of Job, Job was tested by boils, deaths in the family, and loss of his herds, yet he stood and worshiped God throughout all trials he endured.

In the end, Job was rewarded because God saw that Job was a God-loving man.

Never let the trials of this world bring you down, because they are all rigged to lose.

In the book of Acts, when Paul was traveling to Philipi, he was beaten and flogged so badly he was covered in blood. Yet he didn’t let anybody stop him, even when he was shackled and thrown in prison.

Instead of being pessimistic (because he had no idea what was going to happen in that day) he and his friend who traveled with him literally sang his praise from a prison cell.

They were released from their chains when an earthquake opened the prison doors and made the walls collapse, but still they didn’t leave: instead they witnessed to the prison guards and inmates. If you keep faith and keep strong you will see that they aren’t hindrances but trampolines of faith that will bounce you back to the road you were on and higher.

Most people think that riches can make you better than another person and can fulfill your life. But I tell you this: when you die, will it matter about the giant mansion you have? No.

When you dies will it matter how much money you are worth? No.

In Ecclesiastes 4:4 it says, “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind.”

It doesn’t matter about chasing what your neighbors have, because it is like wasting your life trying to catch the wind; it won’t matter when you leave earth. What matters is the things you do for others in Christ’ name, how you love, how you show mercy, how you follow Christ — how you recognize the implications of the Barabbas Principle (that Jesus died for everyone, even the “worst”) and act accordingly.

The riches you have in this world are all material things: they will meet their end whether you are here to see it or not. They won’t matter in the end. And no, I’m not saying that you should burn your clothes and house: what I am saying is that you can’t try being your neighbor, you need to be you — in Christ.

Items do not determine the contents of the soul. Your heart does. You can have everything in this world,  yet you can still have nothing for eternity.

Trials and riches are two things that differ from each other like night and day.

Trials bring you closer to God, yet they are the most painful and most rewarding of all things. They let you see what strength God can give you in all moments.

The Barabbas Principle In Our Everyday Lives

When you look into the story of Jesus and Barabbas, always remember that no man on this earth is greater than another. We are all imperfect. That’s why Jesus, who is perfect, is here to wash our sins away.

Always remember that when Jesus saw Barabbas He never saw the amount of sins He did and the extent of them, He only saw that they were there. Jesus doesn’t see the side view of the sins we commit, but only the top view. He only sees them equally.

Do not stop a person from hearing the word because you think that their sin is bad enough that they don’t deserve forgiveness.

All sin is of the same size; all will have the same punishment and condemnation.

Always share love, because when you share love, you share Jesus. Allowing yourself to realize that all of us — whether rich or poor, in good standing of society or not, church member or not, criminal or not– are sinners and that Jesus did die for all of us, even those whom we recognize as the “worst” among us.

The Barabbas Principle demonstrates that prejudices are foolishness, that we should always be forgiving. Because God died for not just one person, but for all of us.

Godspeed and God Bless, as always!

About Gregory Watson

Gregory T. Watson is a man after God's own heart, and is working to be a minister and a missionary for Christ. On his page ( he seeks to teach, educate, and humor fellow Christians. He loves to teach and one day hopes to do just that.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *