Ancient manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17 have the full name of Barabbas as “Jesus Barabbas” and this was probably the name as originally written in the text.
Evans, Craig A. (2012). Matthew (New Cambridge Bible Commentary). Cambridge University Press. p. 453. ISBN 978-0521011068.
Barabbas, in Hebrew means “Bar” (son) and “Abba” (father). He was the son of his father.
Scripture also notes that Jesus was the “Son of the Father”. His Father is God.
- Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
- John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
- Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane)
When Pilate asked the mob who they wanted to be released, I can envision Jesus on Pilate’s right hand and Jesus Barabbas on the left, with Pilate pointing to each one separately asking, “Who do you wished to be released? Jesus, son of the father, or… Jesus, THE Son of THE Father”?
► Or Imagine if Barabbas was inside a room listening to the crowd. He would not be able to hear Pilate, but only the shouts of the crowd: The crowd shouted out two times: “Barabbas!” and “Crucify him!”
He would be waiting to be taken when the soldiers entered. Then, expecting to be cruelly crucified, they unshackle him! He was saved because of this Jesus who called Himself a King.
Isn’t this the story of us all?
Barabbas was a murderer. Remember Jesus’ words:
- 1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother (fellow human) is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Like Barabbas, we are all murderers because we have all hated a fellow human being at some time. We wait for judgment. But then we realize that Jesus died for our sins! We repent, trust God, and let the blood of Jesus cover our sins. When the accuser enters the room of our captivity, he is arrested and we are set free!
Was Barabbas the scapegoat of Leviticus and Jesus the sacrifice?
- Leviticus 16:8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.
- Leviticus 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Barabbas was let go and went into the wilderness of people.