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Sunday: Jesus or Barrabas — 19 Comments

  1. "The choice of the people."

    It strikes me that the people would not, of their own volition, have chosen Barabbas. "The chief priests and the elders PERSUADED [or "incited" (Fenton translation)] the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus." (Matt 27:20)

    Not many days before this, many of the people in that crowd shouted "hosanna" as Jesus had entered Jerusalem. But now the public mind was like "a ball of putty", and it could be manipulated and shaped.

    The priests and elders read the public mind very well, and they were able to "persuade" or "incite" the people according to their will. I doubt that the people would have been so passionate, had it not been for the quick 'work' of the priests and elders. They saw that they were in their element, and manipulated the public feeling at their will.

    • Leaders of God's people should make sure they are led by The Holy Spirit in carrying out their duties. They have a solemn work and if not consecrated to God and led by The Holy Spirit, they can lead many souls to ruin.

      As children of God, we need to pray, study, watch and know the will of God and not be dependent on leaders.

      • I very much agree, Lisanne.

        It was not easy for the old reformers to move away from dependency on their leaders. This reminds me of John Huss (who lived in the 1400's), of whom it was said,

        "He had TRANSFERRED HIS ALLEGIANCE from [1] the Church to [2] God speaking in His word. This was his great crime. It mattered little in the eyes of the Fathers that he still shared in some of their common beliefs; he had broken the great bond of SUBMISSION..." (History of Protestantism, Bk.3,p.159)

        I feel that we are currently blessed with the attitude of many of our leaders, in that they still effectively say to us, "do not submit to me; submit rather to the Word of God". But yes, we should not feel dependent on our leaders for our guidance and safety. We are still a Protestant church, and the key-note of Protestantism is - faith and allegiance to God, not to the church.

    • And sadly we see the very same things happening in our time,people are disregarding the word of God and endorsing man"s word.

  2. Satan's hatred for Jesus was so intense that nothing would interfere with his plans to destroy Jesus. When Barabbas was released it must have been the end insight for Satan. Victory for Satan that was assured. Jesus however changed those plans into Jesus' complete victory at the cross.
    A victory that is so much more meaningful to us than any thing this world has to offer. Hooray

  3. Adam was the first one to choose evil over good and then we all followed his lead. We all indirectly placed Jesus on the cross. Thanks be to God for His matchless love that awakens us from the spiritual dead, where we can now choose right over wrong and love choosing it. To God be the glory, Amen !

  4. It's so easy to focus on the circumstances surrounding the decision to crucify Christ. Let our focus stay on the Savior, His response and the character he exemplified.

  5. God bless us, a lot of times we enjoy doing things in darkness instead of light. We should shun darkness as it is Satan's kingdom. each time you are in darkness, ask for God's protection.

  6. Hooray indeed Paul! What a great victory was gained on Calvary! Oh that we may appreciate it more and more each day. O what manner of love the Father has lavished on us!

    • Jason, some people assert that Barabbas' first name was "Jesus", because some ancient New Testament manuscripts do refer to him in that way -- i.e. "Jesus Barabbas". But those so-called "ancient manuscripts" appear to be quite obscure.

      The name "Jesus Barabbas" does NOT appear in the Textus Receptus (from which the KJV New Testament comes), and neither does "Jesus Barabbas" appear in the Nestle (of Westcott and Hort), which is the basis of the majority of our modern-day New Testament versions.

      So in my opinion it is rather unfortunate that we have this view (i.e. that Barabbas also had the name "Jesus") in our lesson book - it seems to be an obscure/fringe view.

      The Cambridge Bible Commentary says that "the reading, “Jesus Barabbas” (Mat_27:17), which appears in some copies [i.e. in some manuscripts], is rightly rejected by the best editors."

      • It seems that since the KJV and Hort, more ancient manuscripts have been found. And a number of these actually name "Jesus Barabbas."

        It also helps to remember that "Jeshua" or "Jesus" was not a unique name. In fact, it is the same name as "Joshua," the servant of Moses. A lot of Hebrew mothers probably gave their boys that name, hoping that he might be the promised Messiah. Thus the name was probably as common as the name "John" now is in English. Thus it would hardly be unusual for Barabbas to have the same first name as Jesus Christ. (It's still quite a common name in Spanish speaking countries, pronounced Hayzoose)

        Although I don't have the reference handy, I recently read that many ancient scholars understood that Barabbas's full name was "Jesus Barabbas."

        See also this excellent post, "Biblical misconception: The name of Jesus."

  7. The title is a misprint Barrabas not Barnabas however we know which one was the evil one
    Daily we make choices life or death good or bad small or big and these determine our destiny. [Editor's note: Thanks for the heads-up. We have correctet the title. ]
    Moses final speech to the Israelite pointed them to the consequences of rejection choices and so it is fit is today
    May God guide us to choose Jesus always Soon the final victory will be ours

  8. Christ suffered pain and humiliation so you and i can be respected..the leaders definitely missed the mark, by inciting the people to choose Barabbbas they were actually pushing him to his destiny of saving fallen man..

  9. we should have to be careful with spiritual leaders, mixing people's assumptions with the word of God as presently, do most Christians. We tend to put our faith to the people instead of our Redeemer. This is a thing which leads us to make wrong choice as Israels did.

    May God enable us to make good decisions as every decision we make does determine our victory or perishing forever. So it is my prayer that May God help us to make decisions wisely by his Holy Spirit

  10. Awesome truth before us. We've the power of choice. From heaven where Satan chose to rebel; to our first parents who chose to eat the fruit to us were we'll either choose to be for God or go against Him. May God help us choose life over death.

    From today's lesson I picked that there's something that goes on when people join a mob. It's like peer pressure just going with the flow. May we know crowds to join.

  11. Good points. I especially agree that there is something that goes on when people join a mob... especially when mob is "manipulated". The elders would have been anticipating the release of a prisoner (it had been a Roman Passover custom for some years (Matt 27:15)), and I think that the priests and elders "incited" the crowd by placing within it many of their most vocal and zealous men.

    The Jewish leaders clearly anticipated that Jesus would be one of those that would be presented to the people, and I think it likely that in his final effort to save Jesus, Pilate chose the worst notorious criminal to set beside Him, to make the decision 'easier' for the people. But the people knowingly chose one of the hardest, cruelest, men that they had ever known.

    Sometimes the current is so strong, and it is almost impossible not to go with the flow. Crowd dynamics can be very dangerous.

  12. People in a crowd are like sheep. The majority would have chosen Jesus to be spared, but that would have taken integrity, courage and conviction to do what is "right". That wasn't going to happen...God knew it.

  13. I'm not sure whether we should spend much time discussing whether or not Barabbas' first name was Jesus. We know for a fact that there were some people who were called Jesus. In Acts 13:6 we read of a certain magician, a false prophet called Bar-Jesus. Even during our time there are some who go by the name Jesus. What is clearly not in dispute, though, in the lesson is the fact that the name Barabbas is a patronymic name, (a component of a name based on the name of one's father). Barabbas means son of the father. Jesus had always referred to Himself as the Son of the Father

    Over two thousand years ago, Pilate presented two fathers' sons to the people to choose, Jesus and Barabbas. Barabbas was a robber, murderer and insurrectionist. He presented himself to the people as a freedom fighter, the people's messiah. But he was a hardened criminal, bent on cruelty and rebellion. Jesus wanted to free His people from the enslavement of sin and the devil through salvation. The people made a bad choice. They chose death and destruction instead of eternal deliverance from sin and satan.Their choice contributed to the fall of Jerusalem the following generation.

    Whats our daily choice - Jesus or Barabbas? We must understand, though, that we choose Barabbas when we put anything ahead of Jesus.


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