When Jesus stood condemned to die by crucifixion and was clearly innocent and Barabbas was set free, who was absolutely guilty, there seemed something disturbing wrong. To say that it was the greatest miscarriage of justice ever seems to do it injustice. Why free a guilty man worthy of death, and send another One to His, who was without fault and perfectly innocent?
It is believed that Barabbas was lawfully put in prison at the time of Jesus’ illegal trial. Barabbas was a known murderer, insurrectionist, robber, who had been justly convicted. He was awaiting his death by crucifixion. The arrest, “trial” and conviction of Jesus might have possibly delayed Barabbas’ execution. In fact, it was amazing he hadn’t been put to death already, since under Roman law the person was generally crucified on the very spot of the crime, and usually immediately after the crime, and was often in high traffic areas. This served as a warning to others. Was Barabbas’ life sparred over all the commotion during Jesus’ arrest, trial, scourging and crucifixion? We may never know, but the time for Barabbas was immaculate.
Upon examining Barabbas’ name, it literally means son (bar) of a father (abba). He was a son of an earthly father (like all of us!). Jesus is the Son of God and He is spirit. Barabbas, who was absolutely guilty, had a legal death penalty hanging over his head. Jesus was tried illegally at night using false witnesses and He was totally innocent! I see an analogy. Barabbas’ life was sparred from death by The One Who took it upon Himself willingly, the penalty of humanity‘s sins. He gives us not what we do deserve (mercy); He gives instead what is undeserved (grace).
I believe he represents all of humanity. Standing tried and convicted, worthy of death. Barabbas was guilty of what Jesus was being charged for, yet he went free and Jesus Christ was not. However, since the Father wishes no one to perish, He freely gave the Son of God for us. Historians have long known Barabbas’ first name. It was also Jesus. So literally Jesus Barabbas, meant “son of abba” or son of a human father“, whose place was taken by Jesus, The Son of God The Father.
Who is Barabbas? I was Barabbas and every human being that has ever lived. I should have been nailed to the Cross instead, for the punishment due was mine…but I have been spared like the thief on the cross and given a new name in heaven, and granted life eternal, which includes fellowship and relationship with and worship of, our Great God in heaven. My duty now is to share the Gospel with everyone, and seek ways to glorify Jesus’ name. It is the chief duty of all mankind and creation; that Jesus be glorified and new creatures to worship Him forever. He is most deserving.
For more on questions about Christianity, visit “What Christians Want to Know“