Barabbas Over Jesus…
When offered the choice of having a prisoner released, the people chose Barabbas over Jesus:
Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. -Mark 15:6-11, NAB
The people were given the choice of having Jesus or Barabbas released, but the meaning goes deeper than what we see on the surface. Looking at the footnotes of the New American Bible helps to shed some light on it.
The footnote for Mark 15:7, refers us to Matthew 27:16-17, a parallel telling of the story. Looking at the footnote for that verse, we learn the true meaning of the name Barabbas. Barabbas, in fact, means “son of the father” in Aramaic. The choice, then, is between Barabbas (the son of the father) and Jesus (the Son of the Father – God almighty).
The chief priests, along with many other Jews, rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They were failing to live up to the standards of the Old Covenant, and now, they were completely rejecting the New Covenant in Christ. Their choice of Barabbas reflects how they continually chose the ways of man over the ways of God, choosing the son of the father over the true Son of the Father.
This same choice has continued to plague mankind since the time of Christ. Over and over again, many choose the ways of man over the ways of God, rejecting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of the World. Today’s society has fully embraced the ways of man in the guise of freedom and self-expression. I fear what the world will become if this becomes much worse.
In the United States, the number of atheists is on the rise. Meanwhile, the number of practicing Catholics continues to decline (even with a large influx of Catholic immigrants). Despite being a country built on Christian values and beliefs, we have begun to lose our way. It is our job, then, to help bring our brothers and sisters back home. Let’s help them to see the real choice they are making: between man and God.
In the end, we cannot make choices for other people. The choice is up to us, each as individuals. Who will you choose? Will you choose Barabbas over Jesus, man over God? Or, will you accept the New Covenant in Christ, give your life over to God, and live the life that God wants you to live? Personally, I choose Jesus. Do you?