Barabbas Preferred to Jesus
Charles H. Spurgeon
The custom of delivering a prisoner upon the day of the Passover was intended no doubt as an act of grace on the part of the Roman authorities toward the Jews, and by the Jews it may have been accepted as a significant compliment to their Passover. Since on that day they themselves were delivered out of the land of Egypt, they may have thought it to be most fitting that some imprisoned person should obtain his liberty. There was no warrant however in Scripture for this, it was never commanded by God, and it must have had a very injurious effect upon public justice, that the ruling authority should discharge a criminal, someone quite irrespective of his crimes or of his repentance; letting him loose upon society, simply and only because a certain day must be celebrated in a peculiar manner.
Since some one prisoner must be delivered on the paschal day, Pilate thinks that he has now an opportunity of allowing the Savior to escape without at all compromising his character with the authorities at home. He asks the people which of the two they will prefer, a notorious thief then in custody, or the Savior. It is probable that Barabbas had been, up till that moment, obnoxious to the crowd; and yet, notwithstanding his former unpopularity-the multitude, instigated by the priests, forget all his faults, and prefer him to the Savior.
Who Barabbas was, we cannot exactly tell. His name, as you in a moment will understand, even if you have not the slightest acquaintance with Hebrew, signifies "his father's son," "Bar" signifying "son," as when Peter is called Simon Bar-jonas, son of Jonas; the other part of his name "Abbas," signifying "father"-"abbas" being the word which we use in our filial aspirations, "Abba Father." Barabbas, then, is the "son of his father"; and some mysticists think that there is an imputation here, that he was particularly and specially a son of Satan.
Others conjecture that it w ...
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