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Summary: Barabbus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Matthew chapter 27 verse 11-26.

The Antonia Fortress was a military barracks built by Herod the Great in Jerusalem:

• He named after Herod's patron Mark Antony.

• And he built it on the site of an earlier Hasmonean (Has-mo-nean) stronghold,

• The fortress was built at the eastern end of the great wall of the city (the second wall),

• On the north-eastern side of the city, near the temple and Pool of Bethesda.

• It is thought that the area where the Antonia Fortress was located;

• Possibly later became the site of the praetorium.

• The praetorium, or Pretorium,

• Is thought to be the place where Jesus was taken to stand before Pilate.

• Now the prison was about 2000 feet away from where Jesus was being tried.

• In one of the cool dark cells of the dungeon of the fortress of Antonia;

• Was a condemned criminal.

• He appears briefly in history and he is our character study this morning.

(1). His name,

His name was Barabbus:

• ‘Bar’ in Aramaic means ‘Son’

• ‘Abbas’ means ‘Father’ (we sometimes sing ‘Abba Father’)

• So his name means “Son of the father”

• It can be interpreted as “Son of the teacher or master”.

• It was a common name in that time,

• And although we don’t know who his father was,

• Perhaps he really was the son of a Rabbi, a teacher;

• And this background gave him his patriotic love for his nation.

• If he was the son of a rabbinic family in Jerusalem.

• He was probably well-educated and well-connected, especially politically.

• His full name was probably Jesus Barabbas,

• Which appears in the Syrian and Armenian versions of Matthew chapter 27.

• A number of scholars, (including William Barclay, D. A. Carson, Robert Gundry, and Klaas Schilder),

• Seem to accept this reading.

(2). His reputation.

• Barabbus was not a person with whom you would want to associate;

• We are told f our things about him in the gospel:

(1). He was a “Notorious prisoner” (Matthew chapter 27 verse 16).

• ‘Notorious’ can means ‘disreputable, dishonourable, tarnished’.

• His reputation alone told you not to mess with this man.

• He had a reputation and as the saying goes,

• "His reputation preceded him."

• The word Notorious’ can also mean ‘famous, popular, and notable’.

• Barabbas was well-known in Jerusalem, and it seems he had a large following.

• Therefore, when Barabbas was given the chance of freedom;

• His fans (& the religious leaders) in the crowd made plenty of noise demanding his release.

(2). He was a “A robber” (John chapter 18 verse 40).

• He was a thief,

• One who not only stole......... but violently stole from others.

• This maybe how he and his gang funded their terrorist operation;

• Although we are not told who he robbed, it may have been both Jew & Roman.

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