Barabbas Comparison & Jesus’ Significance « Drew G.I. Hart
Barabbas is supposed to help us consider Jesus’ significance and mission. Remember that Jesus was Jewish just like Barabbas, and both were born into oppressed bodies under the Roman Empire. Barabbas as noted in my last post was a well known revolutionist who attempted to violently overthrow his occupiers. However, Jesus is actually accused of participating in similar activities when before the Roman authorities…
We have Barabbas and we have Jesus. In many ways you could say that they are both revolutionaries, just varying in kind. Matthew 27:15-27 goes a bit further and clues us in on Barabbas’ importance in the Jesus story. Barabbas’ name is Jesus Barabbas. Here in Matthew we see that there is a choice between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus the Messiah. Jesus itself means “the Lord Saves”. So the choice for the people comes down what type of revolution they want and who they believe God is going to use to bring them true liberation. They can try to achieve freedom using the same tools that currently oppress them (violence and manipulation) or Jesus’ methods (sacrifice and service).
Unfortunately they choose Barabbas, thinking that the way of force, violence, and oppression will some how turn into freedom and peace (often promised imperial deceptions). Yet we all have a choice to make, who will you follow Jesus Barabbas the Violent One or Jesus the Crucified One. Do you expect the violent tools of the empire to suddenly create a new world of peace and justice? Or are you willing to follow Jesus’ way, the way of the cross, as he flips this world upside-down?