"Whom do you want me to release for you, Yeshua Bar Abba or Yeshua who is called Messiah?" Matthew 27:17
If some readers still have doubts about the absolute necessity to understand the Gospels in their original, Hebraic context, the following article will leave zero doubts in their minds.
No translated Bible will ever allow the reader to catch the difference between Yeshua Bar Abba (known as Barrabas in the greek version of his name) and Yeshua Bar Yosef, Bar Abba (Son of the Father), our Messiah while reading Pontius Pilate's question addressed to the crowd. An Aramaic or Hebrew version will allow you to understand the subtle meaning of the crowd's choice between both men opposed to one another.
Israel in the 1st Century: a very tense political context
In the movie "The Passion of the Christ", Pilate seems to be sensitive to our Lord's destiny.
While his wife's warnings probably impacted him, we also have to seek most of Pilate's motivations within the political context.
In the "Antiquities of the Jews", we learn from Flavius Josephus that the liberation of a prisoner during Passover feast had nothing exceptional, which is confirmed by the Gospel of John, chapter 18, verse 39. It was simply a way to quiet the crowds and, thus, to avoid insurrections.
In order to ensure peace, Pilate would be ready to sacrifice one single man's life for higher interests.
On the other hand, Pilate probably guessed that our Messiah was not an ordinary person.
At some point of the trial, his words show a little bit of panic.
"Where do you come from?", asks Pilate in John 19:9. We could also assume that Pilate received some insights about our Messiah, but as a politician, he had to secure his actions in order to avoid trouble.
Deep inside, Pilate was scared to be held accountable for innocent blood, so he washed his hands.
Yeshua's trial would make his name remembered for ever. Generations of believers would mention the crucifixion of our Messiah under Pilate.
Who was Barrabas?
It is quite hard to trace Barrabas back to the 1st Century in order to find some evidence of his presence. Some atheists have used this argument in order to prove that the story reported by the Gospels is fictious. If Yeshua's trial was fictious, archeologists wouldn't have evidence of Pontius Pilate.
Matter of fact, a fragment with Pilate's name has been found in the depths of the sea and there are coins with the name of the procurator of Judea.
It is interesting to note that the name Yeshua Bar Abba was deranging to Origines who simply allowed himself to remove the name "Yeshua" from his Gospel copies- and by erasing it, he distorted the sense of the whole story as well.
But Bar Abba was also deranging at the time he was alive, because he was a criminal opposed to an innocent man, yet a perfect homonym.
And he the causer of trouble, the criminal, the bad guy was freed and Yeshua our Messiah, the pure, the innocent was condemned to die the death of the worst criminal.
Why did the crowd choose Barrabas?
A lot of antisemites have spread the rumor that Israel hated Yeshua-which is completely wrong.
The religious establishment, was against Yeshua and was seeking to get Him killed. However not all of the sanhedrin- some influent members such as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were secret followers of Yeshua.
Within the crowd, some people were opposed to our Messiah, because they expected the Messiah to become king of Israel, to get crowned and to become a political Messiah who would deliver the whole nation from the oppression of the Roman invader.
A part of the crowd would certainly opt in favor of Barrabas' violent ways rather than acknowledging Yeshua's peaceful way.
Nobody really expected a Suffering Servant. It was even a surprise to Yeshua's closest disciples. Most of the disciples would understand the meaning of the Scriptures after the Resurrection.
Another part of the crowd, that did not choose Barrabas, suffered with Yeshua and cried with him, like the young ladies of Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa.
Would people be able to distinguish who is the real "Bar Abba"?
A lot of people would object: "If I had lived in the 1st Century, I would have stood up for Yeshua..."
Allow me to disagree...first of all, it was very hard to get some real insights about our Messiah before the Holy Spirit was given. Second, one of the devil's biggest arms is to counterfeit the pure, the holy, the divine, in order to fool numerous people.
Here are two men, with quite similar names. Your land suffers under the oppression of a political enemy and you are longing for a deliverer who would use physical force...there are great chances you would have chosen Yeshua Bar Abba aka Barrabas unless the Father would have shown you that Yeshua was the true Messiah...
Why it is unfair to put the blame of the crucifixion on Jewish people
During Centuries, some Christian churches have used our Messiah's blood as an argument to justify their antisemitism. These people totally missed the whole point of Salvation.
Our Messiah pointed it out: "Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself." (John 10:18)
Yeshua had to die, as the Sacrificial Lamb, in order to bring Salvation for atonement of our sins.
For Centuries, some Jews have been blinded for Gentiles to be able to access Salvation.
However the veil is being removed and Israel is now accessing Salvation massively.
Praised be our Lord.
Copyright© by Isabelle Esling