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"Not this one but Barabbas"
As we all know, Christ was brought before Pilate, who had the power to release Him or put Him to death.
“Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.” (Matthew 27:15-16)
We learn from the other Gospels that Barabbas was a revolutionary who committed murder in a rebellion. It goes without saying that he doesn’t seem to be a high standing member of society.
But, the high priests stir the crowd to demand that Barabbas be released. Pilate caves to the crowd’s wishes and releases Barabbas...we know the rest of the story.
There’s some symbolism here that’s relevant to our lives. Throughout the whole trial of Jesus, people seem to miss what’s right in front of them.
For one, at the beginning of this trial, Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?,” when Christ, Truth Himself, is standing right in front of him. Jesus once said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Second, the high priests wanted Jesus killed so badly, that they were willing to welcome a murderer back into society. In the movie Passion of the Christ, there’s a telling moment when Barabbas is released. He walks past the high priest, who then returns a look of disgust, almost like they forgot that condemning Christ meant Barabbas would actually walk free among them.
And finally, the name Barabbas ironically means “son of the father” in Aramaic. But, he’s the wrong one — the uncapitalized son. The true Son of the Father — the capitalized son — is put to death at the demands of the people.
Let’s ask ourselves: what are we choosing over Christ? Who or what are we welcoming into our homes? Where are we ignoring the Truth in our lives?