According to the United Bible Societies' text, Matthew 27:17 reads: ". . .whom will ye that I release unto you? Jesus Barabbas [Greek: Iesous ton Barabbas] or Jesus which is called Christ [Greek: Iesous ton legomenon Christon]?"
Several manuscripts including the Caesarean, the Sinaitic Palimpsest, the Palestinian Syriac lectionaries and some of the manuscripts used by Origen support the fact that Barabbas' name was Jesus Barabbas. It is believed that the name Iesous was deliberately left out of many manuscripts for reverential considerations. They did not want the name Jesus associated with anyone who was a sinner.
Barabbas is made up of the Aramaic words br meaning "son" and aba meaning "father." Thus, "Barabbas" from the Aramaic means "son of the father." The choice of the the Judeans was to release "Jesus the son of the father" or "Jesus Christ, the son of God." The counterfeit chosen by the crowd was Jesus Barabbas - a notable prisoner, a robber, a man imprisoned for sedition and insurrection - a murderer.
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man [Jesus Christ], but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, [Jesus Christ] and release unto us Barabbas:
(Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
Jesus Christ was the son of God - the true Father. It is ironic that the crowed chose their "favorite son," Barabbas, over Jesus Christ the son of the true Father God.
The Aramaic word aba was a term used to express the most intimate relationship between father and son. It is transliterated abba, with a double "b" in the Greek. It would best be translated in the vernacular English of our day as "Daddy." Jesus Christ used this term when talking to God just before his capture on the mount of Olives.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Today, thanks to the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ and his accomplishments on the cross, we too have the privilege of approaching God our Father using the endearing term abba: Daddy!
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
© Copyright March 1999 Michael Cortright