15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
In this passage there is found the account of a man named Barabbas. There is not much known of this man. Through the few facts we find in the Bible about him maybe an analogy can be formed regarding the question asked in verse 17. Pilate asked the crowd that is gathered, Who do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus? As we continue through this post let us keep this question in mind for ourselves. Do we want Barabbas or Jesus?
The name Barabbas means “son of Abba” or “son of a father/master”. This presents us with an interesting paradox. In the above passage in Matthew we find Pilate presenting the choice to the crowd between the Son of God Jesus Christ, and Barabbas the son of Abba/father. A choice was to be made by the people between the real thing and a fake. Just like many people do in modern times the crowd back then answered to release to them the fake and crucify the real Son of God.
John 8:38, 41-44
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
I would reckon that any Christian would not count Barabbas among the redeemed at this present time. He was a murderer, a robber, and an insurrectionist (rebel) all of which are things that are wrong, sinful. The Bible never tells us if he ever repented but some traditions hold that he was killed in another revolt against Rome. This is extra-Biblical and can not be substantiated with scripture or historical evidence. Barabbas was the son of a father, the devil. The devils deeds aligned with Barabbas’ deeds. They were both murders, and both insurrectionists. The devil tried to set himself above God and overthrow him just the same as Barabbas tried to rebel against Rome. Both were failures, The devil was threw out of heaven and Barabbas ended up in Jail.
Jesus done the will of the Father and spoke what he had seen with His Father. Imagine how much knowledge Jesus had and how much we can extract from his teachings since he spoke things he seen with His Father. It had to be a lot since he was considered the actual beginning, he would have had to saw it all.
We can see the contrast between the two men presented to the crowd that day. The Son of God or one claiming to be the son of Abba. Abba is a personal affectionate name for a father in that day and age. The same as the crowd that day was given a choice, we are given a choice. Are we still keeping in mind whether we want Barabbas or Jesus?
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
No doubt in the insurrection that Barabbas was a part of he thought he was doing good. Rome had oppressed the Jews for so long that he most likely felt the need to rebel, to overthrow his oppressors, and free his fellow countrymen from bondage. In order to rebel against such a strong and mighty country as Rome some sort of patriotism or some driving force had to be behind his attempts at insurrection. Undoubtedly all his actions would only make sense if it was to set his people free.
In John 8:36 it says that if the Son, Jesus Christ, makes you free you can count on the freedom. Jesus may have went to the cross and died but this bought our freedom. Jesus’ method worked, whereas Barabbas’ did not. The same way that Peter thought cutting a man’s ear off was a good idea, Barabbas no doubt thought his actions were good ideas. Just as Jesus told Peter that was not the way to go about things, Barabbas’ way was not the way to go about things. The ways of man, like Barabbas and Peter, were not the way to handle it. The flesh and our own thinking is not the way to handle things but if we accept Jesus’ way we will not fail in our attempts at freedom. We shall be free indeed.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
If we desire to be true children of God we must have faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know who are the sons of God? The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. We after having believed in Jesus have no need of fear to be brought back into bondage. Barabbas’ attempt at gaining freedom through an insurrection did not work, it landed him in bondage. According to the scriptures, belief in Jesus grants us the luxury of not having to fear being brought back into bondage. Those who accept Jesus can truly cry Abba to God the Father. When we truly accept Jesus, we are truly a son of God, not a fake.
Jesus took the place of Barabbas. Jesus took the place of us. It is because of Jesus that Barabbas; a murderer, an insurrectionist, a robber could go free. It is because of Jesus that we, all of mankind, can go free. Barabbas sinned and Jesus died instead. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and Jesus died instead. The bible says “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” According to the Bible all who sin, their soul shall die. Jesus took our sins on himself and died in our stead.
2 Peter 2:18-22
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
If we try to follow after people who are not following God too, then we will be brought into bondage. Through reading the few Biblical facts of Barabbas that we find, there were more than himself in the insurrection. Somebody followed somebody trying to gain freedom and they all ended up in jail.
Christians should only follow Christ as their ticket to freedom and liberty. He is the only one that gives it to us without fear of it being taken away. It is a liberty not of this world so then nothing of this world can take it away. It frees our soul from the punishment that it deserves for having at some point sinned. Barabbas failed in his attempt to escape the pollutions of Rome but through Christ we can escape the pollutions of this world. After we have escape them, we can no longer be entangled in them and overcome of them and except to have the same liberty we had at the start. It would be like if Barabbas would have defeated Rome and then gave up post victory. It would make no sense and be foolish. If he would have won in the insurrection and then turned the city back over to Rome instead of staying free. Would that make sense to you? If the answer is no then why would it make sense for a Christian who has escaped the pollutions of the world to then give up and go back into bondage to the same things he was just freed from.
I don’t know about you but I think that a dog eating puke is disgusting and not many people like to wallow in the mud. The Bible says that anyone who turns from the holy commandment is like a dog eating puke or a pig wallowing in filth. If we accept the Bible then we should find returning to the pollutions of the world just as disgusting.
This is a slightly longer post and there are an abundance of other avenues that could be explored but that is for another time. Anybody who is a Christian would never say they would pick Jesus to be crucified instead of a murdering insurrectionist robber. What if instead of it being Jesus and Barabbas as the choice of who died, it was Jesus and you? Aren’t you glad that we are set free instead of punished and that Jesus took our place? Even though, as did Barabbas, we deserve death for our sins. To wrap this up, What is your answer to the question from the beginning…..
Barabbas or Jesus?
The most important thing:
If you don’t know Jesus and want to here’s what to do…
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
And you know it works because…
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.