Who Was Barabbas In The Bible

The story of Barabbas has been told for decades. The story is related to Jesus Christ and how he was crucified and died on the cross. There are several questions when it comes to the life of Jesus Christ and what transpired during these events. Some things are known and others are not known, but there are some things about Barabbas that have been forgotten or never mentioned because they have not been fully explored.

Barabbas was a character of apparently well-known name, coupled with an uncertain position, in the time of Christ. We learn something of him through the Gospel narratives and other New Testament references. In modern English, Barabbas is known as ” Barabbas ” or ” Bar-Abbas ,” mostly used in connection with Christian festivities.

Jesus Christ, who’s awesome in every way, had a pretty bad week even by his standards. He was crucified and then buried in a tomb (which wasn’t great). But something amazing happened on the third day. He miracles! risen from the dead! And immediately started to kick supernatural ass across Judaea, assisted by a legion of angels. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the most interesting person who walked away unscathed that week — Barabbas!

Barabbas was a man in the Bible who was released instead of Jesus. While this is a well-known story, not many people know the actual details behind it. Here are some interesting facts about Barabbas and his story.

Who Was Barabbas In The Bible

In all 4 Gospels, we find an event in the trial of Jesus where Pontius Pilate brings a prisoner out before the crowd.  According to Scripture, it was customary for the Governor to grant clemency on a prisoner’s death sentence as a sign of goodwill toward the Jewish citizens, at Passover.  The Jews that were calling for the crucifixion of Christ were given the choice between Barabbas and Jesus.

Who was Barabbas?  Scripture tells us he was a notorious criminal imprisoned for murder.  It also must be noted that his crimes were linked to insurrection in the city.

The reason that this is important is that it makes the man more than an everyday criminal, as sometimes portrayed.  He was part of the resistance.  For decades, there had been growing tension between the Jewish people and the Romans that ruled over them.  There were no doubt times where violence flared up in the streets.

Approximately 30 years after this event involving Barabbas and Jesus, Israel would find themselves in a full-blown revolt against Roman rule (66 AD), which ultimately led to the destruction of the temple.

The full details of Barabbas’ crimes are not available, but it’s highly probable that he was involved in a skirmish or riot that led to the death of a Roman soldier.  The punishment for political crimes was death by crucifixion.

Who Was Barabbas In The Bible

Barabbas is mentioned in all four gospels of the New Testament: Matthew 27:15–26; Mark 15:6–15; Luke 23:18–24; and John 18:40. His life intersects that of Christ at the trial of Jesus.

Jesus was standing before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had already declared Jesus innocent of anything worthy of death (Luke 23:15). Pilate knew that Jesus was being railroaded and it was “out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him” (Mark 15:10), so he looked for a way to release Jesus and still keep the peace. Pilate offered the mob a choice: the release of Jesus or the release of Barabbas, a well-known criminal who had been imprisoned “for an insurrection in the city, and for murder” (Luke 23:19).

The release of a Jewish prisoner was customary before the feast of Passover (Mark 15:6). The Roman governor granted clemency to one criminal as an act of goodwill toward the Jews whom he governed. The choice Pilate set before them could not have been more clear-cut: a high-profile killer and rabble-rouser who was unquestionably guilty, or a teacher and miracle-worker who was demonstrably innocent. The crowd chose Barabbas to be released.

Pilate seems to have been surprised at the crowd’s insistence that Barabbas be set free instead of Jesus. The governor stated that the charges against Jesus were baseless (Luke 23:14) and appealed to the crowd three times to choose sensibly (verses 18–22). “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed” (verse 23). Pilate released Barabbas and handed over Jesus to be scourged and crucified (verse 25).

In some manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17, Barabbas is referred to as “Jesus Barabbas” (meaning “Jesus, son of Abba [Father]”). If Barabbas was also called “Jesus,” that would make Pilate’s offer to the crowd even more spiritually loaded. The choice was between Jesus, the Son of the Father; and Jesus, the Son of God. However, since many manuscripts do not contain the name “Jesus Barabbas,” we cannot be certain that was his name.

The story of Barabbas and his release from condemnation is a remarkable parallel to the story of every believer. We stood guilty before God and deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). But then, due to no influence of our own, Jesus was chosen to die in our stead. He, the Innocent One, bore the punishment we rightly deserved. We, like Barabbas, were allowed to go free with no condemnation (Romans 8:1). And Jesus “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18, ESV).

What happened to Barabbas after his release? The Bible gives no clue, and secular history does not help. Did he go back to his life of crime? Was he grateful? Did he eventually become a Christian? Was he affected at all by the prisoner exchange? No one knows. But the choices available to Barabbas are available to us all: surrender to God in grateful acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us, or spurn the gift and continue living apart from the Lord.

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