Barrabas and the Cross
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will
ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask
Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I
release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he
delivered him to be crucified.
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made
insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release
Barabbas unto them.
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them,
and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto
Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas
was a robber.
There are eleven references to Barabbas in the New Testament. The name Barabbas
means son of a father according to the Eastmans bible dictionary.
calls him a notable prisoner,
says he made insurrection and committed murder.
says he was a robber.
An insurrectionist is a rebel, usually someone who is a consistant lawbreaker,
one who does not care for the wishes of the majority, one who goes against the
main stream, one with an idea in his mind that can't be moved, one who will go
to any lengths to accomplish his goal and does'nt care who gets hurt in the
proccess. A rebel causes unrest, anxiety and aggression in a peacefull
A muderer is someone who deliberately and puposely takes the life of another
and once again does not care who else gets hurt in the proccess. Not only is
the victim destroyed but so is the peace, joy, pleasure, relationship and
sometimes the finances of the family and friends of the victim. Murder often
has far reaching consequences and can involve and hurt many innocent people.
Murder is usually inflicted on an innocent person, execution is meted out to
A robber is someone who takes, steals or borrows on a permanent basis without
permission that which lawfully, morally and rightfully belongs to someone else.
Stealing or theft causes worry, heartache, heartbreak, aggression, unrest,
depression, distress, anguish, loss of income and sometimes loss of credibilty.
Theft is usually the end effect of greed, revenge, envy and jelousy, the desire
to possess something which you don't own or can't afford or don't even want
yourself but just want to deprive another of it's ownership. A thief not only
takes the property of another but he kills and destroys their peace of mind,
their joy that was, their pleasure that was, in the stolen object, their sense
of security and wellbeing, and can even destroy love and cause great distress
to any member of society.
Rebellion, Robbery and Murder always affects and hurts more than just the
immediate victim. One just has to view the seemingly endless consequences that
are still occurring today as a result of Hitlers reign of tyranny. Many
families still suffer loss mentally and spiritually which in turn degrades
their quality of life. Hitler was Barabbas on an international scale. He wanted
and took things which did not belong to him, countries, property, lives etc.
If we disagree with someone else's opinion and we speak about them in a
derogatory or uncomplimentary manner we are Barabbas on a small scale even if
we speak only one word to some media or other that leads to their downfall
because we have robbed them of their credibility. And here I speak of law
abiding citizens not convicted or suspected criminals. Even a cussword in the
wrong place will cause distress to the listener. Overheard uncomplimentary
gossip causes distress, lies cause distress, objectionable behaviour causes
distress, bad tempers and foul moods cause distress, a neighbor consistantly
playing loud music in the face of requests to turn it down causes distress. All
of these things and more are theft because the peace of mind is stolen, the
credibility is stolen or the honour is stolen and often in its place depression
is the result. The Word of God says "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he"
. So if you think ill of someone or something, then you would harm them or it
if you could, and mental harm is equally as bad as physical harm and sometimes
worse, you are in essence a Barabbas.
Adam was the first Barabbas because he caused the downfall of man thus robbing
him of fellowship with God, health and strength, peace, love and life. Because
of our inheritance of sin and disobedience (lawbreaking) we are all
contaminated with the Barabbas syndrome and thus deserve execution. Many people
say "like father like son" and because Adam was our earthly forefather we all
carry his genes and characteristics.
Sin is not just a spiritual thing it is also a physical thing. God said to Adam
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
God did not say your body will die or your soul will die or your spirit will
die because God saw man as a composite whole being and thus the whole man died,
the spirit died straight away and the body started to die then and after a
given number of years finally completed the process. Notice God did not deny
man access to the tree of life untill after he sinned.
The conception which leads to the birth a new baby requires three things :
Why God? you say, well since man is spiritually dead and physically well on the
way how can he impart life to another. Death cannot give life to anything,
The Word of God says:
1. The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth
2. Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb,
3. Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I
am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone;
that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
4. And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant,
5. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth
out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the
So we see that God plays an integral and the most important part in ALL
conceptions within the human race and has already laid out the path of life for
each individual, except that a large proportion of the human race don't find
the right path and die in their sin and ignorance.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
We are all created equal but choose different paths.
So we are all as Barabbas in varying degrees. We cannot keep the law, we have
all broken the law either willingly or umwillingly, with or without our
knowledge or forthought.
The spirit which God infuses into the newborn at conception becomes
contaminated and polluted through it's contact and binding with the human body.
says that Barabbas was lying bound with two companions who had helped him in
the rebellion, since Barabbas was singled out I think we can safely assume he
was the leader of the gang, as it were. Therefore crosses were made for all
three of them to die on but due to the wishes of the people who were whipped up
by the priests etc Barabbas was set free and Jesus died on the cross that was
made for Barabbas. The cross was not made for Jesus, it was made for the
criminal, the murderer, the thief the rebel, the lawbreaker called Barabbas,
whose name means son of father. I think it was no accident that he was called
Barabbas since all births and pathways in life are foreordained and planned by
the living God. Barabbas therefore is indicative of all mankind, the worst
member of society, antisocial, violent aggressive and lawless yet he was
ordained to go free, be pardoned and for Christ to die in his place. On the
other hand Christ had to keep all the laws of the land and the laws of Moses
and the prophets all the laws of God as a prerequisite for perfection as the
Son of God, how else could he say to the priests and others in
"which of you convinceth me of sin" they all knew that the life of Christ was
morally, legally and lawfully perfect, even Pilate a foreigner, a member of the
army of occupation said "I find no fault in Him" twice!
(John 19:4 & 6)
and it was so easy in those days to find fault in anyone since Christ lived in
very barbaric times.
So we have Jesus, the Christ, the spotless and faultless son of the Living God
dying on a borrowed cross, one that was made specially made for Barabbas a man
who was totally the opposite to everthing good.
In the Word of God Barabbas was sentenced to death with two other criminals.
Now it all changed and Jesus was sentenced instead to die with the other two
criminals. Nailed to Barabbas's cross between a couple of Barabbas's partners
These two lawless men had obviously heard something about THE CHRIST since one
of them joined in the mocking and fun making which is quite amazing when you
think that he was also nailed to a cross and must have been in great pain, this
guy is, I think, symbolic of all those who have and will reject Jesus no matter
what their condition or circumstance or how much they may need help from the
Lord of all creation whether they believe He is the Saviour or not.
The other thief who said "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man
hath done nothing amiss" And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou
comest into thy kingdom." is symbolic of all those people who have and will
accept the Lord Jesus the Christ as their Saviour, notice how he believed in
God although he was a criminal and how he admits to the Lord that he did wrong
and deserved to die and how he believed the Lord would return again from the
dead and would save him, what consummate faith. This criminal knew all about the Lord
and what He was about. He had obviously listened to the Lord 's preaching at some
time and understood and believed even though the Jesus he had listened to and watched
in the past was hanging on a cross beside him and was totally innocent of all charges.
The cross was the cruelest and slowest death the Romans could conjure up.
This has to be the first case of anyone accepting Jesus as personal saviour in history and it had to be a
criminal in the process of dying for his crimes. This also shows it is never
too late for salvation, (except when your dead). Therefore it seems that God
never intended a cross being made for His Son Jesus since Jesus never sinned or
was touched by sin, hence He had to die on some one else's cross, Barabbas's.
In taking the place of Barabbas he took the place of the whole of mankind.
Jew and gentile alike. The Jews sentenced Him to death and Gentiles carried out the sentence.
Thus the whole of mankind was represented there at Golgotha.
Jesus had to keep and obey all and every law and commandment of God in the Old testament in order
to be the SPOTLESS LAMB of God. If He had broken just one commandment He would have been
a sinner like us and not spotless any more.
Therefore He alone can grant grace, forgiveness and salvation to the sinner.
While we have salvation we as saved children of God still break His laws
whether knowingly or not because our flesh still suffers from the disease of
sin. So Jesus is the only one who could keep the law on our behalf so He could grant us grace
and forgiveness. So when God looks at us He sees us not as sinners but as redeemed people
covered with the blood of His Beloved and obedient Son. Our lives are now hid in Christ.
Adam was a perfect sinless man who had to keep the law of God but after one
short temptation he fell from perfection. Adam only had to contend with one
being, that was Satan, Jesus had to contend with demons, hypocrites,
prostitutes, violent men, bad weather, curses, betrayal, hunger, wearyness,
brutality, satan, spiritual wickedness in high places etc etc etc and yet He
did not fall from perfection. When Jesus was crucified, God turned away from him
the devils fled because they were beaten, all the people watching the spectacle could not
see Him because there came a sudden darkness. Jesus was then the loneliest Man on the planet.
He may have heard some people crying and wailing and that altogether would have been
absolute HELL and separated from His Father would have been worst of all.
Jesus went through all this agony, pain, mocking, spitting, punching, betrayal, thirst, tied to a stake and whipped
till His blood flowed freely from all the stripes on His body and the verbal abuse of mocking devils and demons WILLINGLY
for you and I and without complaint to save as many as would receive the salvation that He bought for us.
What a MAN, what a GOD, what a GOD-MAN.
So if your name is still Barabbas then why not change it now ? accept the Lord
Jesus as your personal Saviour and go free from condemnation and sentence of
Written by Wilf Mossop