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 football of the death warden as he came along the corridor. Then for a moment it would cease as he paused before the door of his 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 key was placed in the lock. 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 realised. “Barabbas, have you heard the Good News?” Responded the condemned man in a bitter tone. “All I know is that this the day of my execution, and that you has 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, unto 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 centre one’?” “Yes.” “well, Barabbas. that centre 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 dying in my place, for mc! “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. What a Remedy for Man’s Ruin!
There are four great truths in the Word of God that present Man’s Ruin and God’s Remedy. These truths I now want you to consider. ALL MEN ARE LOST AND THEIR WAY TO PREDITION, BECAUSE ALL MEN ARE SINNERS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. The human race is rushing down a precipice toward destruction. God says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). It is because men are lost that Jesus Christ came to save them. The Bible says: “The son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19: 1 0). Now the reason men are lost is because they have sinned against God. I have sinned. you have sinned, and all mankind has sinned. There is no one who has lived a sinless life. The Bible says: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3 :23). “There is none righteous, no. not one” (Rom. 3: 1 0). hence all are sinners in the sight of God.
You are not a sinner because you sin; you sin because you are a sinner. Your very nature is sinful. You were born in sin. you were shapen in iniquity. An apple tree is not an apple tree because it bears apples; it bears apples because it is an apple tree. You sin because you arc already a sinner. You started going astray as soon as you came to the years of responsibility. and you have been going astray ever since. What is the doom of sinners’? “The wicked is reserved to the destruction” (Job 21:30). “Thou hast destroyed the wicked; thou hast put out their name for ever and ever” (Ps. 9:5). “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9: 17). In Psalm 37 we read these statements: “Evil doers shall be cut of: the wicked shall perish: the transgressors shall be destroyed.” In Malachi 4:1 we read: “All that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Paul says they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (2Thess. 1:9). Finally. in revelation 20: 15. we read: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”