Summary: Barabbus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.