13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people. 14 He said to them, “You brought me this man. You said he was turning the people against the authorities. I have questioned him in front of you. I have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Herod hasn’t either. So he sent Jesus back to us. As you can see, Jesus has done nothing that is worthy of death. 16-17 So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Kill this man! But let Barabbas go!” 19 Barabbas had been thrown into prison. He had taken part in a struggle in the city against the authorities. He had also committed murder. 20 Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 Pilate spoke to them for the third time. “Why?” he asked. “What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 23 But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people’s shouts won out. 24 So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. 25 He set free the man they asked for. The man had been thrown in prison for murder and for fighting against the authorities. Pilate handed Jesus over to them so they could carry out their plans.
In this passage there are three people. First is Barabbas, (his name means ‘son of the father’). As a boy, did his mother ever dream her son would be a rebel and a murderer? In a society where Roman rule was absolute, he grew up to believe that change could be bought about through rioting, the sword, and blood; the progression from this is that he became a murderer. Do we have anything in common with Barabbas? He was a man who lived life the way he thought best for him, he also knew the wrongs he had done and was waiting for his execution day. Barabbas represents us; everyone on this planet is a Barabbas. We know the wrongs we have done, that we have lived our lives as a rebel against God, and according to Gods law, we deserve execution.
Next is Pilate; he was a Roman, an idol worshipper, and an efficient and ruthless bureaucrat. He declares Jesus innocent; however, he sits in a judgement seat, crumbling under self preservation, fear and pressure. His character failed him at this moment in history and he thought if he compared Jesus to Barabbas, the crowd would choose the murderer and the rebel.
Now there is Jesus; He is also Jesus Bar-Abbas, the Son of the Father. He is man, but also God as testified to by God, man, angels and the devil. There is no comparison between Jesus and man; however in this, we see the greatest love of all in action. Scripture clearly says that no-one took Jesus’ life from him. He gave it willingly; to pay for our treason, our rebellion, and our failures of character. Because of the greatest love ever, we are now able to come to the throne room of God and say ‘Abba Father’.
Written by Cath Croft