The testimony is sketchy at best,
and the prosecution stretches for a capital charge.
There’s the hanging judge,
and the one who would rather not,
for the blood on his hands.
We mostly remember the two men –
Peter and Barabbas,
shame and guilt, friend and stranger,
forever changed by this part of the story,
this bridge of legalities
between the gethsemane prayer
and the via dolorosa –
the price of their safety
a theology of atonement we least expect,
not some work of a bloody god,
but the ways we escape
and it makes a difference all our lives.
Tissot, James Jacques Joseph, 1836-1902. Barabbas, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn Museum, Barabbas, James Tissot