Who is Barabbas?

532 who is barabbasAll four Gospels mention individuals whose lives have been somewhat changed by a brief encounter with Jesus. These encounters are recorded in a few verses, but exemplify an aspect of grace. "But God shows his love for us in the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners" (Rom 5,8). Barabbas is one such person who was privileged to experience this grace.

It was the time of the Jewish Passover. Barabbas was already in custody waiting for his execution. Jesus had been arrested and stood before Pontius Pilate in court. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the charges against him and tried to free him with a trick. "At the feast, however, the governor had the habit of giving the people a prisoner whom they wanted. But at the time they had a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. And when they were gathered, Pilate said to them, "What do you want? Whom shall I give you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus, who is said to be the Christ? "(Mt 27,15-17).

So Pilate decided to grant her claim. He released the man, who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, and gave Jesus to the will of the people. So Barabbas was saved from death and Jesus was crucified in his place between two thieves. Who is this Jesus Barabbas as a human being? The name "Bar abba [s]" means "Son of the Father". John does not speak of Barabbas as a "robber", not one who breaks into a house like a thief, but one of the sort, as bandits, buccaneers, plunderers, those who devastate, destroy, and exploit the needs of others. So Barabbas was a mean character.

This brief encounter ends with the release of Barabbas, but leaves some interesting, unanswered questions. How did he live the rest of his life after the eventful night? Has he ever thought about the events of this Passover? Did it cause him to change his lifestyle? The answer to these questions remains a mystery.

Paul did not experience the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus himself. He writes: "First of all I have given you what I have received: that Christ died for our sins according to Scripture, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day after the Scripture" (1 Kor 15,3-4). We think about these central events of the Christian faith especially in the Easter time. But who is this released prisoner?

This freed prisoner sentenced to death is you. The same germ of wickedness, the same germ of hatred, and the same seed of rebellion that had arisen in the life of Jesus Barabbas, is also dormant somewhere in your heart. Although he does not bring much evil fruit in your life, but God sees him very clearly: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is the eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6,23).

How should you live the rest of your life in the light of the grace revealed in these events? Unlike Barabbas, the answer to this question is not a mystery. Many verses in the New Testament give practical principles for the Christian life, but the answer is probably best summarized by Paul in his Epistle to Titus: "For the salutary grace of God has appeared to all men, and educates us that we renounce the godless being and the worldly desires and prudent, righteous and pious in this world live and wait for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has given himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and even a people cleans themselves of property that is zealous for good works "(Tit 2,11-14).

by Eddie Marsh