Who Is Barabbas In The Bible

Section one: Early Life and Capture of Barabbas

Barabbas is an enigmatic figure from the New Testament of the Bible, whose story has been retold and interpreted in various ways. As a Jew from Gallilee, Barabbas was arrested and condemned to death by Roman authorities during the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Though his birth name is not mentioned in the Bible, Barabbas is a transliteration of ibar-abba, meaning son of the father. This name is likely an allusion to Barabbas’ role in the gospels, as the son of God’s chosen representative on Earth – Jesus.
Though Barabbas’ crime is never spelled out, it is clear that he was a political insurgent of some kind. Roman nobleman Pontius Pilate wanted to release Jesus of Nazareth, but the Jews were not so inclined. According to the gospels, Jews suggested the release of Barabbas instead, a criminal deserving of death. Jesus was to be crucified and buried, while Barabbas was released.

Section two: Religious Significance of Barabbas

The importance of Barabbas in the gospels is that his story displays God’s mercy and forgiveness. Barabbas, a criminal deserving of death, is shown mercy and given a second chance through Jesus’ crucifixion. While Jesus was the son of God, Barabbas’ release symbolized a moment of salvation and redemption for those who had sinned and been caught.
The image of the sudden and miraculous redemption of a sinful criminal by grace from God illustrates the principle of ‘seizing the day’, or ‘carpe diem’. Barabbas’ story is a call to seize God’s grace and to be open to repentance. Through Christ’s arrest and death, Barabbas’s freedom proves that all can become redeemed in God’s eyes.
Barabbas’ story also serves to emphasise the religious value of freedom, as his release served to emphasise the Jews’ lack of freedom to the Romans. By siding with the Jews and calling for Barabbas’ liberation, Pilate recognised their right to choose a leader without interference from outside authority. Barabbas is thus viewed by some as a martyr in the struggle against oppression, while his story can also be seen to represent freedom from the restrictions of sin.

Section three: Representation in Literature

Barabbas has been given various interpretations in literature both in the Christian and non-Christian world. Barabbas is the central character of Nobel Prize winner Par Lagerkvist’s 1950 novel of the same name, in which he is depicted as an outcast and traveller. The novel caused much controversy at the time for recasting Barabbas as a sympathetic figure, following his life after the resurrection of Jesus.
In Rider Haggard’s 1890 novel, The Witch’s Head, Barabbas is also portrayed as a sympathetic character. In this novel, Barabbas is depicted as a kind and gentle hermit who has been wrongfully accused of murdering his wife and is offered redemption by a mysterious ‘magic’ stone.

Section four: Interpretations through Arts

The story of Barabbas has also been portrayed in countless works of art. Barabbas is a recurring figure in Baroque paintings, often depicted as an enslaved sinner begging for release by Jesus.
In the 19th century, the French artist Honoré Daumier created a print that shows Jesus being offered as the ‘scapegoat’ for Barabbas, who stands in freedom.
This theme is explored further in the film Barabbas (1962), starring Anthony Quinn and Silvana Mangano. Here, Barabbas is depicted as a repentant sinner who has to face the consequences of his actions.

Section five: Symbolism of Barabbas

The character of Barabbas is often used to symbolise mankind’s struggle with sin and guilt, as his story can be seen as a metaphor for the human struggle to choose between right and wrong. His story reminds us that Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary for the redemption of mankind.
Barabbas thus serves as a reminder of the need to follow God’s teachings of love and forgiveness, symbolising salvation and redemption while highlighting the consequences of sin. It is therefore not surprising that Barabbas continues to be seen as one of the most important figures in Christianity.

Section six: Legacy of Barabbas

Though Barabbas is mainly remembered for his role in the gospels, his story has also been interpreted throughout history in various cultural contexts. The story of Barabbas is often seen as an example of why salvation can be found in God, even when all hope appears to be lost.
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the people of Jerusalem are vilified for choosing Barabbas instead of Jesus when Pilate offered them a choice between the two. The self-centredness of the people is portrayed as the real sin, while Barabbas can be seen as a symbol of human weakness and wrong choices.

Section seven: Influence of Barabbas in Modern Times

Barabbas remains an influential figure in our modern society, with his story continuing to be recounted in various mediums. In recent years, his story has been interpreted in television shows, books, artworks and plays – giving us a new perspective on the character and his significance in the Bible.
The tale of Barabbas has also been used to draw attention to issues of injustice, reminding us of the power of mercy, grace and redemption. By revisiting the story of Barabbas and its many interpretations, we can gain insight into what faith and redemption truly mean within our own lives.

Section eight: Religious Views of Barabbas

Barabbas’ story has been interpreted differently among the different religious traditions, with some viewing Barabbas as a hero and others as a sinner. In some Christian traditions, Jesus is seen as redeeming Barabbas and saving him from death – while in other versions, Barabbas is seen as a sinner who needs to be saved by Jesus.
In the Islamic tradition, Barabbas’ story is seen to represent the struggle between religion and politics, as the Jews are seen to have chosen a criminal over a prophet. Here, the Jews are presented as putting their own political agendas before God’s word.

Section nine: Connotations of Barabbas

The name Barabbas conjures up various connotations, from martyrdom to redemption, depending on the religious and cultural context. Barabbas has often been seen as a symbol of freedom from oppression and of the power of divine grace, while the story of his release serves as a vivid reminder of what it means to be saved by God.
Barabbas has also been viewed as a symbol of humanity’s struggle with sin, representing both the consequences of sin as well as redemption. It is also said that Barabbas continues to serves as an example of how our lives can be transformed through faith, despite our wrongdoings.

Section ten: Barabbas as a Reflection of Biblical Themes

The story of Barabbas highlights the importance of God’s redemption, while also reflecting the Bible’s themes of justice, mercy, and forgiveness. His story serves as a reminder of how God can grant us redemption, even if we don’t deserve it.
Barabbas also serves as a reminder of how Jesus is the ultimate example of love, grace and mercy, and that true salvation is found through Him. The Bible teaches us that, even when it seems like all hope is lost, grace and mercy can be found through Christ.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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