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Who Barabbas Was - The Easter Story of the Passover Lamb
by Jack Wellman
2010-03-30 08:21:15
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When Jesus stood condemned to die by crucifixion and was clearly innocent and Barabbas was set free, who was absolutely guilty, there seemed something disturbing wrong. To say that it was the greatest miscarriage of justice ever seems to do it injustice. Why free a guilty man worthy of death, and send another One to His, who was without fault and perfectly innocent?

It is believed that Barabbas was lawfully put in prison at the time of Jesus’ illegal trial. Barabbas was a known murderer, insurrectionist, robber, who had been justly convicted. He was awaiting his death by crucifixion. The arrest, “trial” and conviction of Jesus might have possibly delayed Barabbas’ execution. In fact, it was amazing he hadn’t been put to death already, since under Roman law the person was generally crucified on the very spot of the crime, and usually immediately after the crime, and was often in high traffic areas. This served as a warning to others. Was Barabbas’ life sparred over all the commotion during Jesus’ arrest, trial, scourging and crucifixion? We may never know, but the time for Barabbas was immaculate.

Upon examining Barabbas’ name, it literally means son (bar) of a father (abba). He was a son of an earthly father (like all of us!). Jesus is the Son of God and He is spirit. Barabbas, who was absolutely guilty, had a legal death penalty hanging over his head. Jesus was tried illegally at night using false witnesses and He was totally innocent! I see an analogy. Barabbas’ life was sparred from death by The One Who took it upon Himself willingly, the penalty of humanity‘s sins. He gives us not what we do deserve (mercy); He gives instead what is undeserved (grace).

I believe he represents all of humanity. Standing tried and convicted, worthy of death. Barabbas was guilty of what Jesus was being charged for, yet he went free and Jesus Christ was not. However, since the Father wishes no one to perish, He freely gave the Son of God for us. Historians have long known Barabbas’ first name. It was also Jesus. So literally Jesus Barabbas, meant “son of abba” or son of a human father“, whose place was taken by Jesus, The Son of God The Father.

Who is Barabbas? I was Barabbas and every human being that has ever lived. I should have been nailed to the Cross instead, for the punishment due was mine…but I have been spared like the thief on the cross and given a new name in heaven, and granted life eternal, which includes fellowship and relationship with and worship of, our Great God in heaven. My duty now is to share the Gospel with everyone, and seek ways to glorify Jesus’ name. It is the chief duty of all mankind and creation; that Jesus be glorified and new creatures to worship Him forever. He is most deserving.

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Emanuel Paparella2010-03-30 11:55:37
While agreeing with what you say above, Jack, there is a problem which I see and is this: how do you convey by reason what is acquired by revelation? At Barry University, a Catholic institution, we teach problems of philosophy with a text written by an atheists which implies that reason prescinds from faith and belief in God. Basically my question is this: are those who live an ethical life by reason alone (and it is possible)condemned for not believing that Jesus Christ was God or the word made flesh. Will there not be surprised at the final judjment and recapitulation: those who think they are on the right side will find themselves on the left and viceversa. Does not Christ himseelf say something like that somewhere in the Gospel. Another way of putting it is: does one earn grace or is it a pure gift given even to the prodical sons?

David Barger2010-03-30 14:45:12
Jack - that is the way this world works. The world is in endless turmoil for the god of this world is evil(Satan) who seduced first Eve and then Adam and the rights given to Adam from God were transferred to Satan. The world will always take care of its own kind, but who is greater than the Creator? It can be easily over thought and picked through on these subjects, but the best way to think of it is that Christ was willing to give his life for all the world. Those that take weight in the words which he said will have their rewards, again that freedom to think and make decisions is each individual person's God given right even if they don't believe in God. He still allows the sun and rain to fall on every person regardless if they believe on Him or not. And grace is not earned or it would not be grace, so no matter how hard a person works at being a follower grace was freely given and will never be earned. That is the simplicity of God, we as human beings just put too much thought into much of what we know and too little thought on other subjects. In most ways common sense covers most of what is needed to be a good person, but the problem comes in that this kind of sense is not that common after all. And for Emanuel, a person who is not "born again" can live a good life and hope that their good outweighs the bad things done in life to get into heaven/the new earth how ever you look at it. I am just not that big of a gambler. Good discussion overall!

Emanuel Paparella2010-03-30 15:27:46
Indeed. I think both you David and Jack would concur that it is better to live a good ethical life outside the Church and even outside religion than to be religious and give scandal by one's unethical behavior. As mentioned, the surprises will come at the end times when the final judgment takes place. Michelangelo intimates that much on the scene of the Last Judgment behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel where we contemplate an cardinal of the Church being dragged into hell by a deamon. Intriguing also that Christ judging the world that looks more like a Greek Apollo than the Jesus of Palestine. That too is a subtle theological point on the divinity of Christ. or the Word made flesh who resurrects on Easter Sunday. Good dialogue indeed.

Emanuel Paparella2010-03-30 15:31:12
Errata: demon.

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