Barrabas and the Cross


Matthew 27:16  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Matthew 27:17  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?
Matthew 27:20  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
Matthew 27:21  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
Matthew 27:26  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Mark 15:7  And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
Mark 15:11  But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.
Mark 15:15  And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
Luke 23:18  And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
John 18:40  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. Matthew 27:16 calls him a notable prisoner, Mark 15:7 says he made insurrection and committed murder. John 18:40 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 community.
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 the guilty. 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" (Prov 23:7) . 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." (Gen 2:17) 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 :
1. Man
2. Woman
3. God
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 transgressors (Proverbs 26:10)
2. Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, (Isaiah 44:2)
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; (Isaiah 44:24)
4. And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, (Isaiah 49:5)
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 nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
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. (Proverbs 4:26)
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.
Mark 15:7 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 John 8:46 "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 in crime.
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 condemnation? 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 dialogue is in itself is the basis for accepting the Lord as one's personal Saviour, this has to be the first case of 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 tainted by sin hence He had to die on some one else's cross, ours! In taking the place of Barabbas he took the place of the whole of mankind. Jesus kept and obeyed all and every law and commandment of God in our place because we could not, thus making it possible for Him to grant grace 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 we are able to ask the only one who kept the law on our behalf for grace. 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 hid with 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, 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 death, eternally.


Written by Wilf Mossop