About 2,000 years ago, a man named Barabbas led an insurrection against the Roman government. It was unsuccessful and he was arrested. He sat in a Roman prison cell, awaiting his execution. He was to be crucified, along with two thieves in the morning. All was prepared to go forth. The Romans had gathered the three crosses. They had scheduled the time. They had arranged the place. The soldiers were employed and ready to carry out the execution in the morning.
But, something unexpected happened in the middle of the night. A Jewish leader, named Jesus, had been unjustly taken captive and sentenced to death. In a strange set of events, Jesus would be crucified upon the very the cross that was prepared for Barabbas. Jesus became his substitute, dying in his place. Not only did Barabbas never made it to that cross, he was set free! (See Matthew 27:26).
This is a great picture of what Christ has done for us who believe. He has taken our place. Every single one of us without exception deserves to be nailed to a cross and to die for our own sins. But Jesus willingly took up the cross for us. He became our substitute, so we can go free!