Our Savior Is Handed Over

Open Your Bible

John 18:28-38, Luke 23:5-16, Matthew 27:15-23, John 19:1-16, Isaiah 50:6-7

I know the events of Holy Week unfolded more than two thousand years ago. I wasn’t there, and yet, as I prepare my heart for Easter morning, I keep bumping into reflections of myself in the text.

Here I am in John 18:

I am the Jews who escorted Jesus to Pilate. They thought they were righteous because they stayed in the front yard, yet convinced themselves their hands weren’t dirty as they handed over an innocent man for the slaughter. How often do I rely on all manner of rules to make me “clean” while willfully rebelling against a holy God? How often is my heart soiled by sin that I ignore because I’ve stuck to some arbitrary list of dos and don’ts?

I am Pilate. I want to wash my hands of the matter of sin and suffering. Don’t you? Don’t we all? How often do I utter, “What is truth?” when the truth is inconvenient to me? The answer, I’m afraid, is all too often.

Look, there I am in Luke 23:

I am the crowds, offended by the ways Jesus interrupts the status quo and upends my paradigms. As He strips me of my comfort and convicts me of my obsession with self, my heart becomes indignant. I want to yell, scream, and stomp my feet.

I am Herod. I am willing to use Jesus to suit my purposes, to elevate my own power.

I see myself most clearly in Matthew 27:

I am Barabbas. There’s no use in trying to deny it. I am a sinner, guilty of violating the holy law of God. Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner” of the Roman government. Without Christ, I am a prisoner to my sin. I deserve whatever punishment God could hurl at me, but He takes my place instead. Because of Him, I walk in undeserved freedom.

Friend, I know you are these things too. We all are.

We are prone to value rules over righteousness. We are capable of distancing ourselves from inconvenient truth. We are irritated by the ways that following Christ can stir up trouble for us in this world, yet more than okay with using Him to elevate ourselves in the eyes of other believers. We are guilty of sin—undeniably so—and are so often imprisoned because of it. And we are as responsible for sending Jesus to the cross as the crowds who yelled, “Crucify him!”

But there is none like Him. Amen? His grace and mercy transcend time and geography. His actions on Holy Week have the power to save us just as much as they have the power to save the ones who lined the streets to see Him punished. Go on, see yourself in the story. Feel the sting of your sin. But let your eyes move quickly to Jesus, who willingly took our place so that we might be a people who walk in undeserved freedom.

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41 thoughts on "Our Savior Is Handed Over"

  1. Kristyn Timochko says:

    This is amazing!!!

  2. Katherine McClellan says:

    Wow; our comparison to Barabbas brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never seen this part of the story of Holy Week as the beautiful metaphor it truly is. Thank you Jesus for my undeserved freedom.

  3. Kari Parreco says:

    Wow. Speechless. This was absolutely beautiful, Erin. This has changed my entire outlook this Holy Week and beyond.

  4. Erin Kimsey says:

    This meditation blew me away. I am all of these, most clearly Barabbas. Thank you!

  5. Karissa Stanio says:

    It always shocks me when I hear the Holy Week story. How could they deny Him and hurt Him like that?! But this made me realize that I do that in my own life when I choose something more easy or more convenient over following my Savior’s path. Thank you for this

  6. Sarah says:

    This one really struck me and brought tears to my eyes. Thinking of Barabbas- infamously and unquestionably guilty- being exempt and freed from the torment of the cross all because of Jesus- completely innocent, wholly loving and merciful- taking Barabbas’s rightful and deserving punishment, and enduring an inconceivably painful and slow death.

    As I pictured myself standing in Barabbas’s place, standing next to Jesus, hearing the crowds shout “Crucify him!”, knowing full well that I am beyond guilty. Hearing Pilate question on what grounds Jesus should be convicted of a crime, let alone sentenced to death. Then watching as He is handed over and taken away; brutally beaten and knowing I should be in His place, but that I can walk away a free man. Just walk away as if I never did anything wrong…

    Picturing myself in this scene left me breathless. This truly is what Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, did for each and every one of us that day. We are all Barabbas. We all deserve to be punished for our sins, but He took our place purely out of love.

    Thank you Jesus! Thank you for Your overflowing love and mercy. May we all remember and be left breathless by the overwhelming power and significance of the gospel. May we fall to our knees and praise You! Not only during the Holy Week, but each and every day until we undeservingly enter into Your kingdom and fall to our knees in Your glorious presence. Praise you, Jesus!!

  7. Courtney says:

    “Feel the sting of your sin. But let your eyes move quickly to Jesus…” ❤️

    Turn to Him when we fail and are ashamed of our sin. This is the reason He suffered, so that we can live. His perfect love would be for nothing if we remainied imprisoned by our sin. Embrace Him and don’t let go! Thank you God that you see me as pure and that I do not have to live in shame because of Your perfect love.

  8. Trixie Jackson says:

    This was so convicting to read, but so very worth it. Thank you Lord for your undeniable grace and mercy.

  9. Brandy Criswell says:

    I am the one who crucified Him, and I am the one He came to save. Lord thank you for your love, your grace and your mercy.

  10. Nicole Caldwell says:


  11. Deb Moon says:

    Thank you Jesus that because of your blood we have righteousness over rules. ❤️

  12. Steph C says:

    Oh Father, I am all of these people. I have betrayed you, mocked you, ignored your truth, used you for my gain, sinned against you, denied you. And yet, You came. You lived. You fulfilled the law and prophecy. You died. You rose again. You ascended into heaven. You call me. You forgive me. You redeem me. You restore me. You love me. You fill me. You free me. Oh Father, I am overwhelmed by my sin and by your forgiveness. By my need and your grace. By my weakness and your strength. By my failures and your victory. By my infidelity and your faithful love. Oh Father, forgive me for thinking lightly of my sin. That which cost me nothing cost you everything.

  13. Krystle Loza says:

    I’m sitting here sobbing as I fully realize what my sin has done to my Savior! Reading through the Scriptures given, I pictured a perfect, humble man, who endured all the ridicule and pain just so that I could be with Him in eternity!! What an amazing love!! Forgive me Father God for my selfish, sinful ways that led you to the cross! May my life honor and glorify your Almighty Name each day!

  14. Beth S says:

    “I am Barabbas.” As many times as I’ve heard this story, this was a new perspective that really got me thinking. Thank you, Lord for taking my place! <3

  15. Beth Meagher says:

    Yes! Also struck that Herod and Pilate SAW Jesus- the Christ, a righteous man, one who did nothing with and a King. And the Jews were blind. At the end, there was no further debate about what pilate proclaimed. Only- crucify him! As much as I would like to think otherwise, I see me in all those you describe. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy, compassion and love.

  16. Mari V says:

    I take Holy Week dearly too hard. It was so much a part of my life growing up. I am a “people” who walk in undeserved freedom. Thank you Erin for a well written devotion. Something I will ponder throughout the day today.

    1. Mari V says:

      TYPO: “to heart”

  17. Maura says:

    Thank you Erin. I have always thought of myself as one in the crowd, and thankful for the forgiveness. But, Barrabas, wow right in front of me and never realized the man set free undeserved freedom, because Jesus was crucified. Praise God for the love that was poured out on the cross, the blood that washes me, a sinner, white as snow. Thank you Jesus for taking our place, for the grace that is beyond understanding. Help me to speak and show your love, mercy and grace to others.

  18. Stacey Wilson says:

    Thank You, Jesus!

  19. Karen Bailey says:

    Thank you Erin! I continuously need to be reminded that I no different than the people you mentioned. I can only depend upon the great mercy of God that covers my sin and took the wrath of God for me. Humility is knowing that I am like the rest and by mercy and grace I have been forgiven.

  20. Leslie Warnick says:

    Open my eyes that I may see….
    I am Barabbas…yes I am. Jesus took my place that day.
    I am also Peter. Denying my Lord out of fear.
    But most of all
    Thank you Jesus for taking my sin, my fear, my punishment….
    My place.
    I am grateful for this study and blessed by its teachings,
    He is Risen. ❤️

  21. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday. I can’t imagine the weight that Jesus must have felt as He was having the Last Supper with His disciples. He knew what was to come. As we read today, He suffered greatly, and more to come.
    Often times it is really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Jesus went through all of this for me, for us. And, at the same time, I am afraid to know that I would have been one of the crowd, or someone like pilate.

    Oh Lord, that you gave Your Son for me
    That You watched Him suffer for me
    I didn’t deserve Your Mercy
    But you gave Your Son to suffer and die for me

    As this Holy Thursday runs its course, may I continue to reflect on the sacrifice He made for me. How Jesus must have agonized over what was to come, knowing what He must do so that I could live. And, as I participate in Communion at church tonight, may I come before Him swathed in His mercy and forgiveness, remembering His body that was broken for me.

    Sunday is coming.

    Peace to you all Sisters, from Pennsylvania.

  22. Churchmouse says:

    How often do I prefer a comfortable Christ rather than a crucified Christ? I want all that He will provide as long as it doesn’t cost me too much. Forgive me, Lord! Let me look upon Your bloodied face. How dare I long for comfort and convenience over commitment and character. May I desire nothing more than to be fully committed to Jesus and may my character reflect Who He is.

  23. Victoria Rae says:

    We are all all of those people. Stunned and in tears. Praying for all of us women this Holy Week!!

  24. Lucy Goodwin says:

    “I was born for this” thank you Jesus! Again and again, thank you

  25. Aimee D says:

    Jesus thank you for your sacrifice that washed me clean.

  26. Summer Chavez says:

    Never thought of these verses in this way. Very insightful!

  27. Sara Moore says:

    Reading this always gives me a lump in my throat. I always have the images from Passion of the Christ and know how greatly our Savior willingly suffered. None are worthy of this. He never even opposed or argued with them at all!! Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and help me to be worthy of it.

  28. Angie says:

    I always struggle with Pilate who
    finds no fault in Jesus,
    ignores his wife,
    befriends his enemy Herod, as he mocks Christ,
    messes with pronounced deity,
    has Jesus whipped,
    allows his own soldiers to mock Him,
    has Jesus flogged,
    and then finally crucified…

    I hate the doubt about the Savior
    The mocking horrifies me
    The beatings wrench my heart
    and fill my eyes pouring out tears

    Sin is ugly.
    God is good.
    This is a battle.

    And yet,
    knowing Jesus is faultless
    at times I,
    ignore the warnings of those I love
    befriend an enemy, not in love but by mutual dislike
    dishonor deity with my heart, mind, and actions
    my sin as readily brings the whip and flogging across His back
    my sin mocks the one I claim as Lord
    my sin had to be crucified.
    Forgive me Lord.

    Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and love.
    Thank you for your mercy and grace.
    Purify my heart and mind
    May I worship and adore you alone.

    1. Ramona Garcia says:

      I couldn’t have said it better. Your words…..

  29. Shawn Parks says:

    These events unfolded over a matter of hours. I am struck also by Jesus’s silence mostly because he knew what was coming. How torturous each minute must have been. To do His fathers will he had to have been keyed in to the purpose but not able to ignore the process. Even in his silence his physical heart was pumping, his thoughts firing, and his stomach churning. How much more did he suffer for me that I never considered before. The whipping, beating, abuse, and cross have been more than I can take in—when I consider his mental anguish—I can only bow before him in grateful humility and weep over his great love for me.

  30. Kathy says:

    This left me absolutely stunned. I am all of these people and so many times I don’t even realize it. I want to hurry through these days so I can get to the good part – Resurrection. But this has made me realize that I need to walk through these next days slowly and deliberately. I need to feel the gravity of what happened – the heaviness, the weight, the sadness. My sin put Jesus on the cross. Too much of my time is spent being comfortable in my walk.
    Precious Savior, help me to walk slowly through these next days.

  31. Tracy Hutchinson says:

    Easter has always been my favorite holiday by far because of the excitement of the fact that Jesus rose from the grave that morning. But we all need to be reminded of the events of Holy week. It is often uncomfortable and makes me ache and cringe to watch a movie representation or to think about. The physical and emotional pain that Jesus went through during this is unimaginable. We did this to him. He did this FOR us, despite that fact. I remember watching the Passion of the Christ back in high school and being horrified at this part of the movie. It was so emotionally scarring I have not been able to watch it again. But reminding myself that it was I who did this to him makes it even more so. God, forgive me. Thank you Jesus for dying on that cross and enduring that unimaginable pain even when I most certainly did not deserve it. Thank you for loving me in spite of me.

  32. Indiana Christina says:

    Thank you for your words, Tina and Erin. Jesus’ actions lead me to repentance and praise on this Holy Thursday. Oh, Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Holy Spirit, breath of the Living God, renew me and lead me. Thank You, Father God for Your loving kindness, mercy, and grace. Amen.

  33. Tina says:

    I have for a long time now been uncomfortable with Holy week… from Palm Sunday through to Easter Saturday i cringe, i hurt, I am broken, because I am the one that kissed Him, I am the one that handed Him over, I am the one who lined the street shouting, goading, spitting, I am the one who pierced Him in the side, who drove those nails into His hands His feet… I am the one. I am the one..!!!
    But trust me, I do not shout these words so much as in the silence of my heart, with utter regret and pain in heart and tears..
    I hurt.. I hurt…

    But God…
    But God…

    He so loved the world.. He so loved me that He gave His only Son…

    Sunday is coming!

    Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus.. Thank you.


    Blessings xxx

    1. Karen Bailey says:

      Amen Tina. Amazing grace. I always want to be overwhelmed that our Savior did this for us when we were His enemies.

    2. Shasta Moczulski says:

      Yes, thank you for putting vocabulary to the tension I hold in my heart.

      This week I am reminded of what love really is; this truth brings sober awareness of my brokenness and sin while magnifying the LOVE and holiness of our perfect Savior.

      Praise God the grave cries out “EMPTY! EMPTY! EMPTY!”

    3. Ana Love says:

      This captured everything I feel about this week. Holy Week has always been hard for me – so I distract and dwell on the good news while downplaying the reasons He came. Thank you for saying this so beautifully.

    4. Amy Spradling says:

      We are all the ones who did and continue to do these things. Praise God for His ultimate sacrifice for us…for me! I deserve the punishment and death that was inflicted upon Him, but His amazing love, mercy and grace, made a way for me, and all who would call upon His name and put the trust in Him. Thank you Jesus for your willingness to do for me, what I could not do for myself.

    5. Michelle Geipel says:

      Wow… sweet and brilliantly put. There is beauty in brokenness!

  34. Dana says:

    God forgive me, and thank You.