Jesus and Barabbas

Pilate gave the Jews a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. But did you know that Barabbas' first name was also Jesus? This detail isn't mentioned in the King James version, but is in the New Revised Standard Version. While it's an interesting coincidence that Barabbas's first name was Jesus, wait till you hear the rest. First, here's the entire story, as written in the New Revised Standard Version.

Matthew 27:11-26 (New Revised Standard) Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus said, You say so. But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you? But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah? For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him. Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, Which of the two do you want me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate said to them, Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? All of them said, Let him be crucified! Then he asked, Why, what evil has he done? But they shouted all the more, Let him be crucified! So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves. Then the people as a whole answered, His blood be on us and on our children! So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.


Not only was Barabbas's first name Jesus, but his last name, Barabbas, means son (bar) of the father (abba). Jesus had always referred to himself as the Son of the Father (and his adversaries had always refused to acknowledge that he was). So now we had two men named Jesus, each a "son of the father", but opposite fathers, it would seem. Jesus was an innocent man about to murdered, and Barabbas was a murderer about to be set free. During an incident prior to this day, Jesus, when he knew that they sought to kill him, made this statement to them:

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.


It would seem then, that by this coincidence, their choice between God and the devil was being reflected back at them in a magnified way.

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