Who Was Released Instead Of Jesus

Barabbas – Wikipedia

Even though the date for Christmas day appears to be random, there is an advantage to setting one. With “our fast-moving lifestyles having played havoc on our relationships,” as Rick Warren put it, and with us feeling detached from one another, commemorating the birth of Jesus draws the church body together, both locally and globally. Furthermore, Christmas celebrations give a chance to involve individuals of the community who would not otherwise be able to participate in church programs or activities.

Even though associating Christmas with light-hearted festivities may appear to be disrespectful in light of the holiday’s true meaning, the joy of singing familiar carols and lighting candles; the sense of belonging and love associated with the holiday encourages many nonbelievers to attend Christmas services where they may hear the gospel message.

Candice Lucey lives in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two kids in a (usually) peaceful setting.

Credit: Getty/Lukbar for the photograph

Biblical account

A prevalent Passover custom in Jerusalem, according to all four of the canonical gospels, permitted Pilate, the praefectus or governor of Judea, to commute the death sentence of one prisoner by public acclaim during the festival of Pentecost. When the “crowd” (ochlos), sometimes referred to as “the Jews” and “the multitude” in other texts, was presented with the option of releasing either Barabbas or Jesus from Roman prison, they chose Barabbas instead. It appears that, according to the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as well as in John’s Gospel, the multitude selected Barabbas to be freed and Jesus of Nazareth to be executed.

In one verse from the Gospel of Matthew, the multitude exclaims, “Let his blood be upon us and onto our children,” in reference to Jesus.

As well as being a participant in a riot (stasis), Mark and Luke both allude to Barabbas as having been involved in “one of the various insurrections against Roman authority” and as having committed murder.

Even though the accompanying passage (Luke 23:17) is not found in the earliest manuscripts, subsequent versions of Luke contain it, suggesting that it was added later to bring Luke into line with the rest of the Bible.

However, no historical document other than the gospels mentions this custom (whether it occurred during Passover or at any other time), leading them to assert that it was a mere narrative invention of the Bible’s authors.


The name Barabbas appears as bar-Abbas in the Greek translations of the gospels. It is essentially derived from the Aramaic word Bar-abbâ, which means “son of the father.” Abbaha, on the other hand, has been discovered as a personal name in a 1st-century tomb atGiv’at ha-Mivtar, and it appears very frequently as a personal name in theGemarasection of the Talmud, which dates from AD 200–400.


From both a Roman and a Jewish point of view, according to Max Dimont, the tale of Barabbas as told in the gospels is untrustworthy from both perspectives. A small mob of unarmed citizens intimidates the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who is supported by massive military force, forcing him to release a prisoner who had been sentenced to death for rebelling against the Roman Empire. It has been suggested that a Roman governor who had demonstrated dignified comradeship with the city over which he presided may have faced death himself.

  • Dimont further argues against the credibility of the Barabbas account by pointing out that the purported custom ofprivilegium Paschale, “the privilege of Passover,” in which a prisoner is set free, is only recorded in the Gospels, and hence cannot be believed.
  • It has been argued by Raymond E.
  • Craig A.
  • T.
  • Some early manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17 include the entire name of Barabbas as “Jesus Barabbas,” which indicates that this was most likely the name that was originally inscribed in the text.
  • Another possibility is that later scribes who copied the chapter deleted the word “Jesus” from the title “Jesus Barabbas” in order to avoid dishonoring the name of Jesus Christ, who was then known as the Messiah.
  • They are skeptical that a Christian writer would develop a similar name for a criminal, therefore linking Christ with a criminal, if he were fictionalizing the event for a polemical or theological reason.
  • Urrutia is adamantly opposed to the assumption that Jesus would have either led or plotted a violent retaliation against the authorities.
  • Despite the fact that Josephus does not identify the commander of this successful resistance, he does mention Pilate’s crucifixion of Jesus just two paragraphs later, but it is assumed that this chapter was interpolated.

Stephen Davies, Hyam Maccoby, and Horace Abram Rigg are among a small group of academics who believe that Barabbas and Jesus were the same person, according to the Bible.


Historically, the narrative of Barabbas has played a part in the development of antisemitism since it has been used to blame Jews for the execution of Jesus in order to legitimize antisemitism – an interpretation known as Jewish deicide – across the course of history. PopeBenedict XVI, in his 2011 bookJesus of Nazareth, disputes this interpretation, stating that the Greek term ” ochlos ” in Mark means “crowd,” rather than “Jewish people “, and that this reading is thus incorrect.

Art, literature, and media

  • Barabas is the central character in Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century playThe Jew of Malta
  • In his fictional portrayal of the crucifixion in the novelThe Master and Margarita(c. 1940), the Russian novelistMikhail Bulgakov paints a more compelling portrait of Pilate as a harassed and despondent provincial official in his novelThe Master and Margarita. When Pilate and Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jerusalem temple, have a chat, he imagines that the latter confronts Pilate with the threat that Jesus of Nazareth would fuel an insurrection in the city if he is released. As a result of Pilate’s bitterness, frustration, and exhaustion from carrying out a command that does not suit him and his dismissive attitude toward Jesus’ naive utopianism, he agrees to carry out Jesus’ death sentence rather than worsen the ill will of the local priesthood
  • In Spanish, barrabásis an informal term for a bad or naughty person. Barabbas is one of the protagonists in The Liars’ Gospel, a 2012 novel byNaomi Alderman, and Alderman depicts Barabbas rather than Jesus as the man who summons fishermen
  • Barabbas is the namesake of theUltraman Acekaiju Baraba, who appears in a two-part episode as one of Yapool’s mercenaries
  • And Barabbas is the namesake of the Belgian comics Joseph’s companion, who was previously known as Samuel, is a member of a revolutionary party committed to the downfall of Roman authority. When Samuel learns of Jesus’ birth, he informs Joseph that he has chosen the name “Jesus Barabbas” for his son. Adapted from the novel of the same name byPär Lagerkvist, the 1961 filmBarabbas follows the life of the biblical character, played by Anthony Quinn, following the Crucifixion as he searches for salvation. The 1961 picture by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. King of Kingscreates a fabricated narrative for Barabbas’ imprisonment, portraying him as a Zealot and Judas Iscariot’s accomplice in crime who incites and fails in an uprising against the Roman garrison in Jerusalem
  • Writer Henry Denker and director George Schaefer collaborated on the 1961 television film Give Us Barabbas! for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. The film was written by Denker and directed by Schaefer. James Daly was cast in the role of Barabbas. From 27 March to 24 April 1977, NBC-TV broadcast the miniseriesJesus of Nazareth, which starredKim Hunter, Dennis King, Keir Dullea, and Toni Darnay in addition to the main cast. Barabbas was played by actor Stacey Keach
  • Barabbas, a 2005 television film directed by Indian filmmaker Aneesh Daniel, is about the captivity and later liberation (in the place of Jesus) of Barabbas. The contentious topic of speculative history The book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which asserts that a lineage descended from Jesus and provided as inspiration for Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, supports the claim that Jesus Barabbas was the son of Jesus and that he was crucified alongside him (and that the use of “Barabbas”, meaning “son of the Rabbi” or “son of the father”, was akin to “Junior”). According to one story, the son was more aggressive than his father in his efforts to overturn Roman control and return power to his Jewish royal line during the time of the revolt. In addition, it suggests that Pilate released Barabbas in exchange for Jesus’ surrender, which he had himself turned over to Roman authorities as a trade, in order to secure his son’s release and banishment rather than execution, and thus to preserve the Jewish royal line in his son through his own self-sacrifice and sacrifice. Apparently, this release of the Jewish heir apparent in return for the murder of his father, the claimantJesus, King of the Jews, was done to calm the Jewish community and avoid an insurrection, according to one school of thought. Rise of the Zealots shows Barabbas as the commander of a Zealotrevolt, in which the protagonist Clavius Aquila Valerius Niger leads soldiers to quell the revolt and ultimately kills the defeated Barabbas on the battlefield.

See also

  • Biblical criticism, the historical Jesus, textual criticism, and so on.


  1. The weresicarii, members of a militant Jewish organization that aimed to oust the Roman occupants of their territory by force (Eisenman 177-84, et passim), were among those who combined revolt with murder in this manner.


  1. Facts and Importance of the Character “Barabbas.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Evans 2012, pp. 452-
  2. “Mark 15”. Retrieved on November 11, 2019. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a resource for educators and students. 793–795
  3. Merritt 1985, pp. 57–68
  4. Cunningham, Paul A. “Jesus’ Death: Four Gospel Accounts.” Retrieved on December 11, 2017. Brown, Robert D. “Jesus’ Death: Four Gospel Accounts.” Ehrman 2016, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College
  5. Brown 1994, pp. 799–800
  6. Abcd et al. The following sources are cited: Dimont 1999
  7. Brown 2008, pp. 815–820
  8. EvansWright 2009, p. 21
  9. Evans 2012, p. 453
  10. Origen,Commentary on Matthew, Chapter 27, paragraph 17
  11. AbWarren 2011, p. 118
  12. Urrutia 2008
  13. “barrabás,”Diccionario de la Real Academia (in Spanish)
  14. “Baraba | Veliki Renik”
  15. Holland 2012
  16. Van Hooydonck 1994 (April 30, 2009). a third of the Barabbas story (in Hindi)


  • Pope Benedict XVI (Benedict XVI) (2011). From Jesus of Nazareth’s entry into Jerusalem through his Resurrection, this book follows his life. This week is Holy Week. The second installment. ISBN: 978-1-58617-500-9
  • Brown, Raymond E., Ignatius Press, ISBN: 978-1-58617-500-9 (1994). The Crucifixion of the Messiah. The first volume in the series. Doubleday Publishing Company
  • Brown, Raymond E. New York: Doubleday Publishing Company
  • Brown, Raymond E. (2008). The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels is a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four gospels. Bulgakov, Mikhail (Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-14009-5)
  • Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-14009-5
  • (2016). The Master and Margarita are two of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Davies, Stevan L., and al., eds., Grove Atlantic, ISBN 978-0-8021-9051-2
  • Grove Atlantic (1981). “Can you tell me who is Bar Abbas?” New Testament Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 260–262. Dimont, Max I., et al., eds., doi: 10.1017/S0028688500006202
  • Dimont, Max I. (1999). In Jerusalem, I have an appointment. Open Road (ISBN 978-1-58586-546-8)
  • Ehrman, Bart (ISBN 978-1-58586-546-8). (2016). Jesus was alive before the Gospels were written. HarperOne, Craig A. Evans, and Nicholas Thomas Wright are among the companies involved (2009). In the Final Days of Jesus’ Life, discover what really happened. Evans, Craig A., et al., eds., Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 978-0-664-23359-4
  • Westminster John Knox Press (2012). Matthew. The Cambridge Bible Commentary has been updated. Hebron, Carol A. (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521812146)
  • Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521812146
  • Hebron, Carol A. (2016). Judas Iscariot: Damned or Redeemed: A Critical Examination of the Portrayal of Judas in Jesus Films is a critical examination of the portrayal of Judas in Jesus films (1902-2014). The Bloomsbury Publishing Company (ISBN 978-0-567-66831-8)
  • Tom Holland (6 September 2012). Naomi Alderman’s “The Liars’ Gospel” (review) has been published. The Guardian is a British newspaper. Maccoby, H. Z., et al., eds., retrieved on May 27, 2014. (1969). “Jesus and Barabbas.” New Testament Studies.16(1): 55–60.doi: 10.1017/S0028688500019378
  • Maccoby, Hyam. “Jesus and Barabbas.” New Testament Studies.16(1): 55–60.doi: 10.1017/S0028688500019378
  • Maccoby, Hyam (1973). In Judaea, there is a revolution. Taplinger and Merritt, Robert L. (New York: Taplinger and Merritt, Robert L.) (March 1985). Oursler, Fulton. “Jesus (the nazarene) Barabbas and the Paschal Pardon.” Journal of Biblical Literature.104(1): 57–68.doi: 10.2307/3260593.JSTOR3260593
  • Oursler, Fulton. “Jesus (the nazarene) Barabbas and the Paschal Pardon” (1957). The Greatest Story Ever Told is the most important story ever told. The Work of the World
  • Matt Reynolds (2 March 2011). “Pope Benedict XVI Casts Aspersions on Those Who Assaulted Jesus.” ChristianityToday.com. Rigg, Horace Abram
  • Retrieved on July 1, 2021./ref
  • (1945). The Journal of Biblical Literature, volume 64, number 4, pages 417–456, doi: 10.2307/3262275.JSTOR3262275
  • Urrutia, Benjamin. “Barabbas” (October 2008). “Pilgrimage”. Peter Van Hooydonck’s The Peaceable Table is a novel set in the Netherlands (1994). ‘De Bruegel van het beeldverhaal’ by Willy Vandersteen is a biography of the artist. Standaard
  • Warren, William
  • And others (2011). “Who made the changes to the text and why did they do so? Explanations that are likely, possible, and unlikely “. The authors Bart D. Ehrman, Daniel B. Wallace, and Robert B. Stewart have written a book titled (eds.). The New Testament’s Reliability has been questioned. It is published by Fortress Press with the ISBN 978-0-8006-9773-0.
See also:  Why Was Jesus Name Changed From Yeshua

Who was Barabbas in the Bible?

Answer According to the New Testament, Barabbas is named in each of the four gospels. He is mentioned in Matthew 27:15–26, Mark 15:6–15, Luke 23:18–24, and John 18:40. When Jesus is put on trial, his life crosses paths with Christ’s life. Jesus was standing before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had already ruled Jesus innocent of any charges that would have resulted in his execution (Luke 23:15). Pilate was well aware that Jesus was being railroaded and that the chief priests had delivered Jesus up to him “out of self-interest,” as recorded in Mark 15:10, and he sought a means to free Jesus while maintaining the status quo.

  1. It was traditional for a Jewish prisoner to be released just before the Passover holiday (Mark 15:6).
  2. The option Pilate presented them with couldn’t have been clearer: either a high-profile murderer and rabble-rouser who was certainly guilty, or a teacher and miracle-worker who was manifestly innocent of all charges.
  3. As a result of the crowd’s request that Barabbas be released instead of Jesus, Pilate appears to have been taken aback.
  4. “However, they insisted on his crucifixion, and their cries were heard and heard well.” ” (verse 23).
  5. The name “Jesus Barabbas” (which translates as “Jesus son of Abba”) appears in some manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17, and it refers to Barabbas himself.
  6. It came down to a choice between Jesus, the Son of the Father, and Jesus, the Son of the Holy Spirit.
  7. This is true of every believer, as well.

However, Jesus was selected to die in our place, and this was done without any input on our part.

We, like Barabbas, were permitted to go free without being held accountable (Romans 8:1).

What happened to Barabbas when he was freed from prison?

Did he return to his previous life of crime?

Is it possible that he finally became a Christian?

No one has any idea. Nevertheless, the options open to Barabbas are also accessible to us all: we may either surrender to God in thankful appreciation of what Christ has done for us, or we can reject the gift and continue living separate from the Lord.

Who was Barabbas and Why Did the People Choose Him over Jesus?

Believe it or not, Jesus and Barabbas have a lot in common, and not only in their appearance. Not only were they both convicted and condemned to death, but they also had names that are similar to one another. Barabbas’ entire name was most likely Jesus Barabbas, which was a point of contention for the church father Origen, who went so far as to declare that heretics were putting the holy name of Jesus in front of Barabbas’ name, which he considered heresy. Dirk Jongkind goes into further detail about this topic in his piece here.

Barabbas, a criminal on the verge of being executed, is set free by the Jewish people when they are offered the option of freeing either Barabbas or Jesus from their punishment as part of the traditional pardons that are part of the Passover Feast (think about the American pardoning of a turkey by the President on Thanksgiving).

Where Does Barabbas Appear in the Bible?

Barabbas has several appearances throughout the Gospels, and he is even mentioned in passing in the book of Acts. Let’s take a look at a few of these verses. Matthew 27:16 (KJV) When I arrived, they had a well-known prisoner in custody, named Barabbas,” I recalled. Mark 15:7 (KJV) “A guy by the name of Barabbas had been imprisoned among the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the insurrection,” says the narrator. Luke 23:18 (KJV) When they heard the cry, they all shouted, ‘Get rid of this man and free us Barabbas!'” the story continues.

We’ll get into his misdeeds in a bit, but it was judged vital by all four Gospels to not just mention him, but to specifically mention him by name.

Credit for the image goes to Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Image/Antonio Ciseri on the Internet Archive.

Was Barabbas a Real Historical Figure?

Is there any historical proof that Barabbas lived other than what is recorded in the Bible? However, we do know from the historian Josephus that many Jews had revolted in a similar manner via insurrections, earning a significant number of these zealots death at the hands of the Romans. After all, we do have historical evidence that Pilate existed. Pilate, a Roman governor, tortured Jesus and then attempted to persuade the Jews to release him from their imprisonment. Instead, they choose Barabbas, and Pilate absolves himself of any responsibility for Jesus’ death (in which he passively allows it to happen).

As a result, we don’t have any historical evidence for his existence outside of the Bible.

Tradition has it that following his release, Barabbas either witnesses Jesus’ death or is slain in another rebellion after being released.

People at the time would’ve recognized his name because of Barabbas’ popularity, or because Barabbas was still alive and could witness to these occurrences, which is why his name was added.

What Was Barabbas’ Crime and Why Was He Freed?

As we can see from the Gospel texts above, they appear to be at odds with regards to Barabbas’ offense. According to some reports, he murdered someone, others claim he was a robber, and yet others claim he was involved in some sort of uprising. Perhaps he’d done all three of these things. According to Joe Allotta of the Crossroads Church, we may deduce that he was involved in some sort of rebellion against the Roman Empire based on contextual indications. Crucifixions were solely reserved for those who committed crimes against the Roman Empire.

His involvement in this insurrection most certainly suggests that he was some sort of freedom warrior, similar to many of the zealous rebellions that took place around the same period.

The Jews, encouraged by the presence of religious leaders in the throng, demand that Barabbas be released in accordance with the Jewish practice of pardoning one convict at the festival of Passover.

In either event, Pilate appears to be fully aware of this practice, and in an effort to appease the Jewish people while also attempting to liberate Jesus, he offers them the option of choosing which prisoner to release first.

Why Did the People Choose Barabbas over Jesus?

Biblical evidence indicates that religious leaders had kneaded their way through the throng, encouraging people to side with Barabbas against Jesus (Luke 23:34-35). The “trial” that Jesus went through that night (actually, a kangaroo court) featured religious authorities attempting to circumvent their own regulations in order to have him guilty. They called in fictitious witnesses who offered contradictory testimony, and they held his trial in the wee hours of the morning and early evening, which was clearly against protocol.

  1. The religious leaders have an impact on the people, and they ultimately choose Barabbas.
  2. After all, just a week before, they had greeted Jesus with palm branches and cries of “Hosanna!” (“Save us, immediately!”).
  3. Most likely, Barabbas symbolized all they desired in terms of redemption.
  4. Jesus had lectured on the importance of turning the other cheek and going the extra mile for others.
  5. Instead, it entailed the annihilation of sin.
  6. This may also have influenced the Jews to side with Barabbas, who they believed had a better chance of defeating the Romans than they had.
  7. After all, we would never advocate for the execution of Jesus in the case of Barabbas (sarcasm heavily implied).
  8. How often do we place a higher value on what we believe will save us, when we desperately need actual salvation and redemption through Jesus’ death and resurrection?

It’s possible that if we are genuinely honest with ourselves, we will recognize how frequently we turn to Jesus Barabbas, idols, and temporary remedies rather than the only permanent solution: Jesus himself.

A Temporary Solution

Barabbas was most likely a freedom warrior who had gone a little too far in his fervent pursuit of justice. He had a name in common with Jesus, but that was the extent of their resemblance. To avoid the penalty that would have been due to his conduct, Jesus steps in and takes Barabbas’ justified punishment upon himself. The Jewish people regarded Barabbas as a solution to their troubles, and they embraced him. It’s difficult to find out much more about this freedom warrior save the usual narratives, in which he is killed during another rebellion.

  1. He battled against the Romans, and Jesus fought against the sin of the world.
  2. More than 1,200 of her pieces have been published in a variety of journals, ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids, among others.
  3. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams.
  4. She is also a co-author of the Dear Heroduology, which was published by INtense Publications and is available for purchase online.
  5. You may learn more about her by visiting her website.
  6. We’ve put together this collection of articles to assist you in your study of individuals whom God decided to lay before us as examples in His Word.
  7. The Life and Times of Elijah from the Bible Ruth’s Life – 5 Essential Faith Lessons to Take Away Queen Esther’s Biblical Story is a must-read.
  8. Mary Magdalene’s Biography in the Bible
See also:  Who Is In Jesus Christ Superstar Live

The Story of Barabbas Is No Mere Prisoner Swap

One of the great wonders of Scripture is the fact that small characters may symbolize a whole storyline in one sentence. The Bible is replete with obscure persons about whom we know nothing about them other than their surnames and dates of birth. But many of them, rather than moving from one part of the stage to another in order to progress the tale (as they would in a Homeric or Shakespearean play), become live instances of the story itself. The account of the crucifixion, in my opinion, has the most powerful illustrations.

  • As in the case of the criminal who was crucified beside Jesus and who received mercy at the eleventh hour, becoming the iconic deathbed conversion (Luke 23:39–43).
  • At its most basic level, this is a straightforward narrative of exchange.
  • However, despite the fact that he has done nothing to earn compassion, he discovers that Jesus is destined to die instead.
  • In this figure, it is evident that we are meant to perceive ourselves: destined for death, yet gaining freedom and life via the death of another.
  • Instead of just dying in lieu of Barabbas, Jesus dies in Barabbas’s place as a replacement and a substitute’s representation.
  • Barabbas.
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  • In addition to his work as a teaching pastor at King’s Church London, Andrew Wilson has written many books, the most recent of which being Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship (Zondervan).

Twitter: @AJWTheology or Facebook: @AJWTheology. Previous Spirited Life columns have included:

  • It’s Hamilton’s World, after all. All we’re doing is existing inside its framework
  • Old Testament Israel can’t do anything wrong. Except when it is incapable of doing anything correctly
  • Further reading: “The Ten Commitments That Shaped the Ten Commandments”

Who was Barabbas in the Bible?

Barabbas was a significant prisoner who was sentenced to death by the Roman authorities during the time of Jesus’ trial by Pilate. He was a prominent figure in the Jewish community. His release was preferred by the Jews over Jesus’ death by crucifixion, who had been sentenced to death by crucifixion. Get your free Bible study guide by clicking on the following link: Is it true that God gives second chances?

Barabbas and Jesus

Barabbas had been imprisoned for treason and murder when he was captured. In Matthew 27:16, he is referred to as “a infamous prisoner.” According to Mark 15:7, Barabbas was a member of a rebellion against the Roman rulers that took place in the city. According to Roman law, he had been sentenced to death for his crimes. Afterwards, compare and contrast Barabbas with Jesus, whom the Jewish authorities were determined to have executed due to their jealousy for His fame and position. Despite the fact that the authorities hauled Jesus before Pilate for trial, Pilate determined Him to be innocent in the end.

Every Passover, however, there was a custom that the Jews might pick one prisoner to be set free, which they did every year.

“Will it be Barabbas or Jesus Christ who is named Christ?” (Matthew 27:17; Mark 1:17) He hoped and prayed that they would choose Jesus.

As a result, Pilate honored their decision and freed Barabbas, while sending Jesus to be whipped and ultimately executed on the cross.

What does the name Barabbas mean?

The name Barabbas may be broken down into two words in Hebrew: bar, which means “son of,” and abbas, which means “father.” While Barabbas’ name literally translates as “son of the father,” Jesus Christ was the actual and literal “Son of God the Father,” as defined by the Bible. It is noteworthy to notice that in Matthew 27:16 and 17, Barabbas is referred to as “Jesus Barabbas” in various Bible translations. The Jewish leaders were thus being asked to choose between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus, who is referred to as the Messiah, by Pilate.

By participating in a violent insurrection against the Roman rulers, Jesus Barabbas was attempting to position himself as the Jewish Messiah.

The character of Barabbas

Barabbas was a thief, a murderer, and a revolutionary. He had hoped to save the Jews through uprising, but he had failed. In character, Barabbas portrayed the devil, who was a murderer from the start of the story, according to the story. (See John 8:44 for further information.) In heaven, Satan instigated dissension, and a third of the angels joined him in his efforts. In heaven, a battle erupted, but Satan and his angels were defeated, and they were driven out of the kingdom. (See, for example, Rev 12:1-3, 7-9.) His promises to the heavenly creatures included a better realm free of the law of God, but Satan’s path ultimately led both the angels and men into a state of sinful servitude.

He does not compel people to come to him; instead, he invites them. The love of Jesus, demonstrated by His dying on the cross, is what pulls people to Him. In contrast to Barabbas, who was found guilty, Jesus was found to be righteous and innocent.

What can we learn from Barabbas?

Barabbas is a metaphor for all of humanity. Every one of us is guilty of sin, and the Bible declares in Romans 6:23 that “the penalty of sin is death.” We will not be able to save ourselves or achieve freedom by our own efforts, as Barabbas attempted. According to Isaiah 64:4, “our own righteousness is as dirty clothes.” We can only rely on Jesus to forgive us of our sins and set us free from the punishment of death, which is the only way we can experience genuine freedom.


Barabbas recognized his need for redemption and freedom from the Romans, but he did not recognize his need for salvation and freedom from sin. He attempted to redeem his people in his own manner and with his own might, but he was ultimately unsuccessful. Consider whether we are making the same error by attempting to free ourselves from sin and its consequences via our own efforts. Our decision is to support or oppose Jesus in the same way that the Jews were given the opportunity to choose between Jesus and Barabbas.

Barabbas – New World Encyclopedia

Jesus is being flogged in the backdrop while Barabbas’ supporters rejoice over his release from prison. The Jewish insurrectionist Barabbas was liberated by Pontius Pilate during the Passoverfeast in Jerusalem, according to the Christian account of Jesus’ Passion. Barabbas was executed by Pontius Pilate in 30 CE. Yeshua bar Abba, to give him his entire name, according to certain accounts (Jesus, the “son of the father”). A treason allegation against Rome had been brought against Barabbas, who had been convicted of the same crime for which Jesus had been tried and crucified.

According to Christian traditions, however, there was a prevalent Passover ritual in Jerusalem at the time that enabled or compelled Pilate to reduce the death sentence of one prisoner in response to public acclaim.

According to the almost comparable gospels of Matthew(27:15–26), Mark(15:6–15), Luke(23:13–25), and John(18:38–19:16), the mob opted for Barabbas to be freed and Jesus to be crucified, but the more varied narratives in John(18:38–19:16) disagree.

It is important to note that the narrative of Barabbas has significant societal relevance, in part because it has been widely used to blame the Jews for the Crucifixion and hence to legitimize anti-Semitism in the past.


Herod takes control of Jerusalem on behalf of the Romans. While living during the time of Barabbas’ birth, the autonomous Jewish kingdom created by the Hasmonean dynasty had been brought to a close by the unstoppable might of the Roman Empire. Although the Hasmoneans themselves were deemed corrupt by stringent religious Jews, puppet monarchs such as Herod the Great, who governed on Rome’s behalf, generated a climate of widespread animosity among the Jewish community at large. The two primary religious groups, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, came to symbolize diametrically opposed poles, with the Sadducees largely dominating the Temple priesthood and the Pharisees appealing to a more popular kind of devotion, as seen in the following chart.

When the Zealots sprang out as a party of fervent resistance to Rome, they demonstrated their willingness to employ violence against these foreign tyrants in order to speed the arrival of the Messiah.

In the decades immediately before and during the reign of Barabbas, there were a number of people who claimed to be the Messiah.

meantime, the Essenes prepared for the day when the corrupt Temple priesthood would be replaced by their own pure priests and the Day of the Lord would herald the arrival not only of the kingly Davidic Messiah, but also of the priestly Messiah, the son of Aaron, at the end of time.

It is explained in the New Testament that members of the priesthood and the ruling Sanhedrinwere particularly concerned that messianic movements would become such a serious threat that Rome would clamp down even more on Jewish autonomy: “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation,” the Gospel of John quotes members of the Sanhedrin as saying.

According to Caiaphas, the high priest, it is preferable for you that one man die in the service of the people rather than for the entire country to perish. (See also John 11:48-50) Within this framework, the tale of Barabbas and Jesus is presented.

Barabbas and Jesus

Barabbas is referred to as alsts in John 18:40, which means “bandit.” Luke refers to him as a participant in astasis, which is a riot (Luke 23:19). According to Matthew, Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner.” (Matthew 27:16; Mark 10:16) Mark (15:7), on the other hand, gives a more explicit description of his crime, indicating that he committed murder during an insurrection. Clearly, Barabbas was more than a simple thief; he was most likely the head of a gang of people who had behaved brutally against Roman authorities.

  • Jesus of Nazareth, like Barabbas, was accused of treason against the Roman Empire.
  • There was no clearer messianic pronouncement than this for the Jews of the time period.
  • A reaction to this was taken by the high priest’s party, who plotted to assassinate Jesus by paying one of his followers to betray him and capturing him in the Garden of Gethsemane at night.
  • At this point, Barabbas had already been imprisoned along with his fellow insurgents; now Jesus had been tied and sent to the palace of the Roman ruler in Jerusalem.

Pilate’s choice

Three gospels, despite the fact that neither Jewish nor Roman sources mention it, assert definitely that there was a custom at Passover during which the Roman governor would free a prisoner of the crowd’s choosing (Mark 15:6; Matt. 27:15; John 18:39). On whether this ritual was Roman in origin or Jewish in origin, the gospels are divided. Pilate proposes to the audience that they receive Jesus instead of Barabbas. In any event, the gospels are unanimous in their assertion that the multitude, encouraged on by the high priest’s entourage, demands that Pilate release Barabbas.

  1. It is apparent from the scriptures that Jesus’ disciples deserted him when he was taken into custody; even his most important disciple, Peter, denied him three times rather than being identified as his supporter.
  2. This party, which may have previously planned to petition Pilate for Barabbas’ release, would have joined forces with the high priest’s camp in order to persuade Pilate to release Barabbas.
  3. And what am I to do with the man you refer to as “the King of Jews?” I wondered.
  4. ‘Crucify him!’ they cried out in unison.
  5. ‘Can you tell me what offense he has committed?'” (See Mark 15:11-14 for further information.) Because of John’s gospel, it’s easier to see the political repercussions of the choice.

“According to Caiaphas’ faction, if you let this man walk free, “you are no friend of Caesar.” Anyone who seeks to be a king is in direct opposition to Caesar.” (See also John 19:12) In the end, Pilate freed Barabbas and left Jesus to face his fate on the cross.


There is little information available about Barabbas’ life after he was released from prison. It’s possible that the two men crucified with Jesus on the cross at Golgotha were members of his group. Despite the fact that they are commonly referred to as “thieves,” crucifixion would not have been the appropriate punishment for simple thievery. Because of Mark’s assertion that “Barabbas was in jail among the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the revolt,” it seems possible that additional Zealots besides Barabbas had been planned for death at the time of the rebellion.

  • Pilate himself was plainly endangered by such events, since he was removed by the Romans a few years later for overreacting to a Samaritanmessianic outbreak in the city of Rome.
  • A decade later, the persecution of Rome had developed to the point that a great Jewish uprising broke out in 66 C.E., resulting in a full-scale Roman invasion and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, which took place in 70 C.E.
  • In popular culture, Barabbas has been variably depicted as a patriotic rebel leader, a terrorist, or even an alias for Jesus, given that his name means “son of the father” and that some sources say that his given name, like Jesus’, was Yeshua (which means “son of the father”).
  • Barabbas is tortured by the memory of Jesus’ innocent blood being poured in his stead, and his life will never be the same after this.
See also:  How Much Time Between Moses And Jesus


  1. This line in Matthew is not included in the earliest manuscripts, and it is possible that it was added later to bring Luke into harmony with Matthew’s passage. SeeDeath of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels, Volume 1 for more information.

ReferencesISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • In Brown, Raymond E., “Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels,” Volume 1: pp. 793-795, the author discusses the Passion narratives in the four gospels. Marvin Harris’s book, The Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday/The Anchor Bible Reference Library, ISBN 0385494483)
  • Harris, Marvin. Barabbas is a felon and a friend. John Marcus Tompkins is the author of Enumclaw, WA: WinePress Pub, 1999.ISBN 978-1579211912
  • Tompkins, John Marcus. This is the story of Barabbas and the Sword of Sacrifice: A Zealot’s Journey to God. Samuel Wells’s book, Longwood, Florida: Xulon Press, 2003, ISBN 978-1591608592. Six Characters in Search of Resurrection, each with their own power and passion. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007.ISBN 0310270170

External links

All connections will be available until December 31, 2021.

  • Continue reading for more information on the idea that Jesus and Barabbas were the same person. Why Barabbas was released instead of Jesus
  • Why Jesus was not released


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11 Bible verses about Barabbas

Matthew 27:16-26 is a biblical passage. Barabbas was one of the notorious inmates being held in the facility at that time. As a result, when the people assembled, Pilate addressed them as follows: “Who is it that you want me to release on your behalf? Which is more important: Barabbas or Jesus, often known as Christ?” For he was well aware that they had handed Him over as a result of their jealousy. Continue reading for more information. He received a telegram from his wife when he was seated on the judgment seat.

  1. The governor, on the other hand, asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release on your behalf?” Afterwards, they sang, “Barabbas.” “Then what am I going to do with Jesus, who is also known as Christ?” Pilate inquired of them.
  2. Afterwards, he said, “Why, what ill has He committed?” Nonetheless, they continued to yell, “Crucify Him!” with increasing intensity.
  3. After that, he freed Barabbas in exchange for them, but after scourging Jesus, he turned Him over to be crucified with them.
  4. The insurrectionists who had committed murder during the insurrection, including a guy named Barabbas, had been imprisoned with him.
  5. “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews for you?” Pilate said of them.
  6. For he was well aware that the top priests had turned Him up to the authorities out of jealousy.
  7. “Then what will I do with Him, whom you refer to as the King of the Jews?” Pilate asked them once again after answering their question.

When they asked why, Pilate responded by asking “What wrong has he done?” “Crucify Him!” they screamed even louder as the crowd gathered around them.

The Gospel of Luke 23:18-25 The crowd, however, erupted in applause, exclaiming, “Away with this guy, and release for us, Barabbas!

Nevertheless, they kept crying out, “Crucify, crucify Him!” they said.

In Him, I have discovered no evidence of crime warranting death; as a result, I shall chastise Him and then release Him.” But they were adamant, demanding that He be crucified in a rousing chorus of voices.

And Pilate issued a ruling in their favor, granting their request.

John 18:40 (NIV) So they screamed out once more, this time screaming, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a thief on the streets.

The insurrectionists who had committed murder during the insurrection, including a guy named Barabbas, had been imprisoned with him.

The insurrectionists who had committed murder during the insurrection, including a guy named Barabbas, had been imprisoned with him. A guy called Barabbas had been imprisoned together with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the insurrection, according to Mark 15:7.

Jesus Barabbas Matthew 27 – Tyndale House

A comparison of two common modern translations reveals the difference between the two readings: 16 in the ESV They also had an infamous prisoner named Barabbas on their hands at the time. 17 In any case, after they had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which of the following do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is known as Christ?” NIV 16:16 During that historical period, they were guarding a well-known prisoner by the name of Jesus Barabbas. 17 “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is considered the Messiah?” Pilate inquired of the multitude after it had assembled.

  1. Coptic B 1010 1012 is an abbreviation for Coptic B 1010.
  2. The external evidence for (16) and (17) is sparse, despite the fact that this is the text supplied in NA26 – NA28, but with the initial portion of the text in quotation marks.
  3. After reading Donaldson’s writings on this Origen (387-90), I am much less confident that we are discussing Origen’s thoughts in their original contexts.
  4. Although it is possible that it is still by him, given his meteoric rise and fall in following decades, there remains a big question mark over the authenticity of the painting.

There is a difference in perspective; whereas in the Latin, the reading assumed is Jesus Barabbas with the alternative reading being simply Barabbas, in the Greek, the reading assumed is Jesus Barabbas with the alternative reading being simply Barabbas (incidentally, Streeter in his The Four Gospels, 94-95 knows only the Latin version – and yes, Jesus Barabbas is of course a ‘Caesarean reading’ in his eyes).

Exist any scribal reasons for the rise of the two readings in the same passage?

  • The deletion of the letter v in the word Jesus can be regarded as a means of removing a potentially misleading repeat of the name Jesus from the text. In order for the same name to be used for both the Saviour and murderer, Metzger refers to the second of this pair of versions and observes the sequence Thenomen sacrum for Jesus would be, which is the same as the last letters of the Greek word for “sacred.” The first instance was adjusted in order to bring it into line with the inadvertently lengthier second instance, if this is the case. Alternatively, a haplography of — within — would constitute an argument in the other direction
  • Nevertheless, this is unlikely.

In this scenario, it is possible that the genesis may be traced back to manuscript tendencies. There is a cluster of readings that appear in a limited selection of manuscripts that are related to one another. Despite the fact that I would not refer to Caesarean manuscripts or a Caesarean text, this collection of readings discovered in a certain region of the tradition can be referred to as ‘Caesarean readings.’ Please keep in mind that I am more concerned with the collection of readings than I am with the question of what the right name should be.

We could therefore be able to learn more about what these interpretations have in common, and perhaps even discover a historical context for their similarities.

This is the major argument used to disprove the readings of “Jesus Barabbas” since they are found mostly in a limited group of witnesses who all have a similar set of distinct, but questionable readings.

I believe that the majority of the committee made a clerical error.

Donaldson’s article, “Explicit References to New Testament Variant Readings Among Greek and Latin Church Fathers,” was published in the Journal of Biblical Literature.

A Study of the Origins of the Four Gospels, by B.H.

4th ed., with an introduction.

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