bar-abbas means “son of Abba”
While Jesus, the Son of God, was out teaching the Jewish people about love, a rebel named Barabbas lead a group of political insurgents in a rebellion against Rome. Barabbas was a murderer who hated paying taxes to Rome and was aggressively trying to end all Roman authority. His group of insurrectionists started an uprising and because of this they were thrown into prison.
A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. Mark 15:7
Now it was during the festival of Passover when Jesus (after being arrested and brought before the Roman governor Pilate) was asked the question “Are you the king of the Jews?”. This question from Pilate was referring to an earthly king. Pilate may have been concerned that another uprising against Roman authority was about to occur – something he didn’t want during his post in Jerusalem.
Then Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36
After Jesus’ answer Pilate decided Jesus was no threat to Rome and he could find no charge against Jesus. But the Jewish leaders insisted and the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” Luke 23:18
The crowd shouted for the release of Barabbas because – But it is your custom for me [Pilate] to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. John 18:39
Jesus, arrested by the Jewish leaders for what they considered blasphemy, had charges against Him that meant nothing to the Roman government. That is why these “religious leaders” decided to lie. Knowing the only way Pilate would allow Jesus to be crucified, they demanded Jesus was a threat to Rome. From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” John 19:12. The religious leaders fraudulently professed to Pilate that Jesus was committing treason.
How ironic that Barabbas was the man the crowd wanted released from prison. For he was indeed guilty of the crime of treason. His actions clearly displayed him as an enemy to Rome. However the angry crowd did not care about Barabbas’ illegal actions against Rome. They may have even considered him their hero for standing against the government they hated.
Knowing all this, Pilate still decided to give in to the anxious crowd although Pilate found no legal Roman reason to convict Jesus. But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will. Luke 23:23-25
I used to believe it was not right that Barabbas was set free after the outright sins he committed. He did evil in the sight of God and should have been punished accordingly. Just like when God punished David and Bathsheba, by taking their first born son because they committed adultery and that David had Bathsheba’s husband killed.
The name Barabbas means “son of Abba” and Abba is an intimate term for God as father. But because I now study The Word, I have come to realize – I am Barabbas!
I am an adopted daughter! Adopted thanks to the sacrificial death of Jesus on The Cross. Barabbas was a sinner set free on earth because Jesus took his place. I am a sinner set free eternally because Jesus took my place.
Yes I lie, I cheat, I steal, I hate, I gossip, I have impure thoughts, I covent what others have, I have led others astray, I am selfish…I have turned my back to Jesus many times and in many different ways. But because I believe that Jesus died for me on The Cross, because I believe He bore the massive weight of my shameful sins, my unrighteousness and my transgressions…I am set free!
And you also can be set free as well. Confess your sins to Jesus – believe that Jesus died for your offenses as He hung nailed to The Cross and you too will become an adopted “son of Abba”.
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