Tuesday, June 5, 2018

His Name Means WHAT??!?

Surprise! This is NOT a piece about the name of Jesus.

I was reading The Final Days of Jesus, by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor, and got surprised by a little bit of knowledge that had never passed my way before.

In the chapter that was commenting on the trial of Jesus, I read:

Pilate, believing Jesus to be innocent and desiring to see him freed, proposes a solution that he believes will take care of the problem. Apparently, a custom had developed according to which the Roman governor released a prisoner each Passover. (Matthew 27:15, Mark 15:6, Luke 23:18, John 18:39) Pilate had likely [perpetuated] this tradition as a way of easing the political tension and anti-Roman sentiment that could have escalated at a time when a large number of pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate God's past deliverance of the Jews from an oppressive foreign regime (i.e., Egypt). Pilate clearly assumes that the crowd will choose Jesus over Barabbas, a violent man who had been imprisoned for taking part in an insurrection and committing robbery and murder.

Nothing new there. And neither was the recounting of the crowd's insistence on Barabbas being released and Jesus being crucified.

The eye-popping moment for me wasn't in this main text, but in a footnote: "Note the possible wordplay and irony here: Bar-abbas means 'son of the father,' while the people reject Jesus, who truly was the 'Son of the Father,' that is, the divine Son of God."

Truth is...there's no new theology here. This is just a point of interest that as the people were saying "Give us Barabbas! Release the son of the father!" they were rejecting the true son of the heavenly father. How often have we rejected the very thing we wanted/needed the most, because we failed to recognize it when we had the chance?

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