Today, as we live “our lives”, whether we want to address it or not, the same question Pilate was asking the people during Jesus’s trial comes across to all of us. Do you want Jesus Barabbas or do you want Jesus called the Messiah? This is the representation of the two choices we have. Bear in mind that WE ALL CHOOSE weather actively or passively but we all choose.
The New international version translation of the Bible says the following on Matthew 27:16 “ At that time they had a well-known prisoner, whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah? As Scripture points out, we know who they chose.
The Gospels paint Barabbas’s Character as a man who was a murderer and a robber. Matthew describes him as a “notorious prisoner” We can decipher then that this was definitely not Barabbas’s first crime.
Choosing Barabbas; To live among a murderer and a thief, was not as uncomfortable as to hearing Jesus speak of Eternal life with God or eternal condemnation away from God. He spoke of a sinful nature and a necessity to live life under God’s will and not our own to be able to receive God’s blessings. They loved the benefit from His healings and blessings, but nevermind having to hear His message.
The Gospels paint Jesus’s Character as a sinless man, a man who fulfilled all the prophecies found in the scriptures. They also depict Jesus as someone who spoke truth and is truth. To think that a man like Barabbas with such dark reputation would have the same name as Jesus seems preposterous yet, Scholars believe that Jesus was also Barabbas’ first name and it was omitted in some of the translations as a reverence to Jesus the Messiah.
Jesus often called Himself son of the father. The Hebrew meaning of Barabbas is son of the father. if we look at both Characters and their names, they would both be Jesus, son of the Father. The difference is that they are both a representation of two different fathers.
Let’s see what Jesus says about the other father. In John 8:44 He says the following: “ You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.”
Contrast to our heavenly Father in John 10:26-30 “Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Pilate didn’t see a reason to condemn Jesus to death and neither did Herod. Jesus had not broken any of their laws. He attempted three times to convince the people to release Him but they would not have it. They chose to keep prisoner and condemn to death the one willing to die and pay the price for their own prison and death sentence.
They kept calling out “crucify Him, crucify Him” “away with this man!” “release to us Barabbas”… In other words; We don’t recognize this man. We can associate with Barabbas and we recognize him as our own, but not this Jesus. He speaks words we don’t want to understand or follow. “give us Barabbas!” We don’t want to hear Him any longer! Away with Him!
Pilate gave them over their request “And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will” In other words Pilate was saying “have at it” “I give you your wish”
This reminds me of the scripture in Romans 1:18-25 that says: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
“ Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen”
Today, as we encounter this choice, let us remember what John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” If we do claim to believe this passage, let us follow Jesus and do what he says and let our voices not be in conjunction with those that actively or passively call to be given Barabbas instead.