Somebody Died for You
It was night. Another day had gone, and all was still. But what matter - it was always night in the cold, clammy dungeon where Barabbas lay. The sun now and then did manage to penetrate the inky blackness that ever reigned beneath the surface of the ground. But even then it could not be called light; it was only less dark.
And yet there was a difference, for this particular night was the night of doom for the murderer who awaited the execution of his awful sentence. It was the last night on earth for him, and well he knew it. His career was ended; his last crime committed.
Back in the darkest corner he crouched, deep in thought. A few more hours and all would be over. Ah, but would it? In the morning he would hear the footfall of the death warden as he came along the corridor. Then for a moment it would cease as he paused before the door of the dungeon. The great key would clank in the lock, the bolt fly back, and the heavy door swing slowly open. And then he would be dragged out, led to the fatal spot, and nailed to a cross. And there for hours, it might be, he would suffer the most excruciating agony that Roman ingenuity could devise, exposed to the public gaze of an indifferent populace; for he must pay the penalty of his crimes.
In the morning he did hear the steps of the jailer coming along the corridor. The bolt did fly back, and in another moment the great door was opened. And Barabbas still crouched in the darkest corner as before. But that was as far as his surmises of the night were realized.
“Barabbas, have you heard the Good News?” It was the warden’s voice, jubilant and strong.
“What Good News?” responded the condemned man in a bitter tone. “All I know is that this is the day of my execution, and that you have come to lead me out to be crucified for my crimes:’ And he shrank farther back against the cold, wet wall.
“Ah! but you don’t know;’ replied the warden in the same triumphant tone. “Listen, Barabbas: ‘Somebody died for you!”
“Somebody died for me! What do you mean?”
“Come with me, and I will show you, Barabbas.”
Through the door, along the corridor, past numerous cells, into the street, and beyond the wall of Jerusalem, they made their way, the jailer forging ahead, hurrying his dazed prisoner along. At last they paused.
“Do you see yonder cross?” he inquired, placing his hand on the shoulder of the other, and pointing to a hill some distance away. The condemned man looked, but it was a few moments before he could comprehend the scene before him, so unaccustomed were his eyes to the light of day. But at last he saw and spoke:
“Yes, I see. There are three, are there not?”
“But do you see the center one?”
“Well, Barabbas, that center cross was made for you, and you were to have died on it this morning.” Slowly the light dawned and broke on his beclouded mind.
“Then - then that Man hanging on it is dying in my place, for me?” “Yes, Barabbas, for you. Di I not tell you that Somebody died for you?”
“Can it be possible? For me, dying for me; taking my place? But yes, that cross was made for me, and I should have been hanging there now. And yet He is dying in my stead. He has taken my place, I can’t understand it. I don’t know why He did it. But He did, and I can’t help but believe it. He is really and truly dying for me:.”
“Yes, Barabbas, for you.”
And for you, too, sinner friend. Jesus Christ the Son of God hung there that day for you as well as for Barabbas. He took your place, died in your stead, became your Substitute, bore your sins, gave His life that you, a poor, lost and guilty sinner, might live.
Isn’t that Good News? You deserve death, but you do not need to die. You ought to pay the penalty for your sins, but Another has paid it for you. Yes, Somebody died for you, and that Somebody - God’s only begotten Son. Will you now accept Him as your Substitute?