Barabbas (Mk 15:7-15:7)

“Now a man

Called Barabbas

Was in prison

With rebels,

Who had committed murder

During an insurrection.”

 

ἦν δὲ ὁ λεγόμενος Βαραββᾶς μετὰ τῶν στασιαστῶν δεδεμένος, οἵτινες ἐν τῇ στάσει φόνον πεποιήκεισαν.

 

This is something like this in Matthew, chapter 27:16.  Luke, chapter 23:18-19, also talked about Barabbas as a rebel who had murdered somebody.  In John, chapter 18:40, Barabbas was simply called a bandit.  Matthew called Barabbas a notorious prisoner without any indication of what he had done.  A few manuscripts called him Jesus Barabbas (Ἰησοῦν Βαραββᾶν).  Barabbas in Aramaic meant son of the father.  Thus, there may have been some attempt to relate Jesus to Barabbas.  Mark said that there was a man called Barabbas (ἦν δὲ ὁ λεγόμενον Βαραββᾶν), who had been captured with some rebels (μετὰ τῶν στασιαστῶν δεδεμένος).  Barabbas had committed murder in an insurrection (οἵτινες ἐν τῇ στάσει φόνον πεποιήκεισαν), not a likely candidate for parole.  Would you release a murderer?

 

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

The crowd wants to crucify Jesus (Mt 27:21-27:23)

“The governor again

Said to them.

‘Which of the two men

Do you want me

To release

To you?’

They said.

‘Barabbas.’

Pilate said to them.

Then what shall I do

With Jesus

Who is called Christ,

The Messiah?’

All of them said.

‘Let him be crucified.’

He asked.

‘Why?

What evil has he done?’

But they shouted

All the more.

‘Let him be crucified.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἡγεμὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίνα θέλετε ἀπὸ τῶν δύο ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τὸν Βαραββᾶν.

λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πειλᾶτος Τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν; λέγουσιν πάντες Σταυρωθήτω

ὁ δὲ ἔφη Τί γὰρ κακὸν ἐποίησεν; οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραζον λέγοντες Σταυρωθήτω.

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Mark, chapter 15:12-14.  In Luke, chapter 23:18-23, there is a longer dialogue, while in John, chapter 18:40, there is only a short statement about Barabbas.  Matthew said that the governor again asked the crowd (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἡγεμὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) which of the two men did they want him to release (Τίνα θέλετε ἀπὸ τῶν δύο ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν).  The crowd responded ‘Barabbas’ (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τὸν Βαραββᾶν).  Pilate then asked them (λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πειλᾶτος) what should he do with Jesus (Τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν), the one called the Christ (τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν), the Messiah.  All of them responded that he should be crucified (λέγουσιν πάντες Σταυρωθήτω).  Then Pilate asked them what evil or bad thing had he done (ὁ δὲ ἔφη Τί γὰρ κακὸν ἐποίησεν)?  But they shouted all the more loudly (οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραζον) that he was to be crucified (λέγοντες Σταυρωθήτω).  The crowd that had loved Jesus for all his miracles and preaching now wanted him dead as they turned on him.