by Clarence E. Macartney

This content is part of a series.

Barabbas, or Jesus? (14 of 18)
Series: The Greatest Questions of the Bible and of Life
Clarence E. Macartney
Matthew 27:17

Down in the lowest cell of the Roman dungeon a manacled prisoner lay on the cold, hard floor. For months he had languished in that dungeon. He had been sentenced to death for robbery, murder, and insurrection, and this was the day set for his crucifixion. In the wall above him was a small opening with iron bars. When morning came, the slightest gleam of light appeared like a shadow at that barred window. Then the prisoner knew that it was day, and when that gleam of light faded, he knew that night had come again. As he lay there looking up at the window, he suddenly heard a sound. Getting up, he grasped with his hands two bars at the window and stood there, alert, listening.

What the prisoner had heard that morning was the most fearful sound that falls upon the human ear. It was the voice of the mob-cruel, wild, animal, devilish, thirsting for the blood of the innocent. That is always the most dreadful of all sounds, the roar of the mob, for man is the only wild animal. ''Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'' That was the cry that reached the ear of this prisoner as he stood there holding to the bars of the prison window. The sound came and went like the breaking of the waves of the ocean, a mighty roar, then an interval of silence as the wave receded, and then another crash and roar, ''Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'' But between those shouts the prisoner thought he caught the echo of another shout, ''Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!'' Then again, ''Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'' Then once more he caught the word ''Barabbas.'' What could it mean? That was the prisoner's own name! ''Fools! Dogs!'' he exclaimed. ''Don't they know that this is the day I am to be crucified? Why do they shout for it?'' Then with a groan of anguish and a muttered curse, the prisoner, to the loud clanking of his fetters, fell back in despai ...

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