Q: #439. Who was Barabbas in the Bible?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: Barabbas is mentioned by name only in each of the 4 Gospels (Mt 27:11-26)(Mk 15:1-15)(Lk 23:13-25)(Jn 18:38-40). He was a "notorious prisoner" (Mt 27:16), who had been thrown in prison by the Romans for robbery (Jn 18:40), insurrection, and murder (Lk 23:19,25)(Mk 15:7)(Acts 3:14). Many scholars believe that he may have been a leader in the Jewish resistance against the Roman government.

     We see in (Mt 27:15)(Mk 15:6)(Lk 23:17) that it was the custom of the Roman governor (Pilate at that time) "to release unto the people a prisoner" during the Passover celebration. Pilate gave them a choice between Barabbas and Jesus (Mt 27:17,21). (Mt 27:20) says that "the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death" (Also see: Mk 15:11). We see them doing this in (Mt 27:21-23). Pilate gave into their demands, and ordered Jesus to be crucified (Mt 27:24-26)(Mk 15:15)(Lk 23:23-25)(Jn 19:15-16) (even though he knew Jesus was innocent: Mt 27:18-19,23, Mk 15:10,14, Lk 23:13-15,22, Jn 18:38, Jn 19:4,6).

     Interestingly, the name "Barabbas" is Aramaic, and means "Son of Abba," translated as "son of the father." This being the case, it would mean the people were given a choice between "the son of the father" and "the son of the Father (God)."

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