MembersThe Mystery Surrounding Barabbas

In the first century, it was customary for the Roman governors of Jerusalem to release a prisoner during the Jewish holidays as a goodwill gesture.

By Ludwig Schneider |
Photo: Creative Commons

So on the Feast of Pesach (Passover), Pontius Pilate asked the people whom he should release. According to historians this took place between 29 and 35 AD.

This time the ritual became a significant play on words, as both the candidates for release were called Yeshua (Jesus), which means “salvation.” One of them was called “Yeshua Bar-Abbas” and the other “Yeshua ha-Notzri [Jesus of Nazareth]” of whom it is written: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).

In fact, both Yeshuas were called “Son of the Father,” which is the meaning of the Aramaic words bar abbas. Bar means “son” and Abbas is “father.”

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