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Barabbas or Jesus? - part 1

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | September 27, 2023 | Matthew 27:15-18


Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ? Matthew 27:17 (NKJV)


When we hear the names Barabbas and Jesus, one question immediately springs to mind: Who is Barabbas? Most of us are familiar with Jesus, but Barabbas often remains an enigma. In today's reading, verse 16 briefly introduces us to Barabbas, describing him as a notorious prisoner held in custody alongside Jesus. These two individuals symbolize the extremes of our human nature—with or without God. They embody the contrast between good and bad, the spiritual and the natural, spiritual life and spiritual death. There is no middle ground; the choice is stark and unmistakable.

The governor confronted the crowd, offering them only two distinct options: Barabbas or Jesus, who is the Christ. This choice is a daily reality for every person created by God and living in this fallen world. We must decide whether to embrace our fallen nature, characterized in Galatians 5:19 as "the works of the flesh," which include sexual immorality, impurity, corruption, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and more. Alternatively, we can choose the path of the Spirit, as outlined in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The choice is inevitable; we all must make it.


There are only two sides, and you must take a stand on one of them—either for Jesus (God) or for Barabbas (the Devil). God does not condemn us, we are already condemned by our sinful nature and marked for destruction. The loving God is only offering us an opportunity to escape condemnation, by choosing to stand with Jesus who is the Christ. Make that decision now, to choose Jesus and rededicate your life to him.


Dear Lord Jesus, I unequivocally choose to stand with You and for You. I rededicate my life and renew my commitment to live for You, all the days of my life. For your dear Name’s sake. Amen



_________ DAILY word study: BARABBAS The name "Barabbas" is of Aramaic origin and is comprised of two components:

  1. "Bar" (בַּר): This Aramaic word means "son of."

  2. "Abba" (אַבָּא): This Aramaic word means "father."

So, "Barabbas" can be translated as "son of the father" or "son of a father."

In this verse, Pontius Pilate presents the crowd with a choice between two prisoners for release: Barabbas and Jesus. This choice forms a crucial moment in the Passion narrative, symbolizing the choice between the earthly and the divine, between a known criminal (Barabbas) and the Messiah (Jesus). Pilate, in offering this choice, might have hoped that the crowd would choose Jesus' release due to His innocence.

The name "Barabbas" holds a deep symbolic meaning within the context of Jesus' crucifixion:

  1. Symbol of Humanity: The name "Barabbas" as "son of the father" can be seen as representative of humanity. In a broader sense, it highlights that we are all "children of the Father," created in the image of God. This choice underscores the universal nature of the decision faced by the crowd.

  2. Choice of Redemption: The choice between Barabbas and Jesus serves as a powerful symbol of redemption. Jesus, the sinless Son of God, is offered in exchange for Barabbas, a criminal. This reflects the redemptive work of Christ, who takes the place of sinners and offers salvation through His sacrifice.

  3. Contrasting Values: The juxtaposition of Barabbas and Jesus underscores the contrasting values of the earthly and the divine. Barabbas represents the ways of the world, characterized by rebellion and violence, while Jesus represents the divine way of love, forgiveness, and salvation.

The choice between Barabbas and Jesus invites us to reflect on the fundamental choices we make in our lives and their alignment with our values and beliefs. It reminds us of the redemptive nature of Christ's sacrifice and the transformative power of choosing the path of love and righteousness.

Reflections: How does the choice between Barabbas and Jesus resonate with the choices we make in our lives? In what ways can we align our choices with the values and teachings of Jesus, recognizing the redemptive power of His sacrifice?

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1 comentario

Pastor Israel Kuadzi
Pastor Israel Kuadzi
27 sept 2023

Well received, God bless you and endue you with more wisdom to write and inspire the body of Christ everyday.Amen

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