Day 316: Jesus or Barabbas? (Matthew 27:21-22)

Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri, 1821-1891

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” Matthew 27:21-22

Through the Bible: Matthew 27, Mark 15

Barabbas’ name means “Son of Abba,” which is what a child would call their human father.

Jesus is the Son of the Heavenly Father.

Barabbas was in prison for “committing murder in the insurrection” (Mark 15:6). The precise details are lost to history, but this was apparently an event so well known to the people of Jesus’ day that it needed no further explanation. There had been a plot to overthrow the Roman government by human means. Through violence. Through power. Through deception. And Barabbas had been right in the middle of it.

Ironically, Jesus also came to overthrow the kingdoms of this world and establish the kingdom of God. Only Jesus’s kingdom would come through peace. Through sacrifice. Through truth. Like Barabbas’s insurrection, blood would be be shed. Unlike Barabbas’s insurrection, it would be His own.  

So, then, Pilate offered the mob gathered at the Court of the Stone Pavement a choice. Here is Barabbas, the son of a human father, who tried to bring about revolution at the point of the sword.

And here is Jesus, the son of the Heavenly Father, the prince of peace, who like a lamb before his shearers is silent, so does not open his mouth (see Isaiah 53:7).

The crowd chose Barabbas. The crowd would rather bring about a human kingdom through human means than bow their knee to the suffering servant, to become citizens of a different kingdom.  And we have been choosing Barabbas ever since.

Dear God, forgive us for still choosing Barabbas, even to this day. For still seeking human solutions to spiritual problems. For still believing the end justifies the means and that ungodly methods can bring about righteous results. We repent of preferring the sons of men to the Son of God.

His blood be on our heads.



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