So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
Pilate offered the crowd a choice of two prisoners. One would be released while the other would be killed. The choice was theirs to make. The first prisoner was Jesus Barabbas, an insurrectionist (Mk. 15:7). The second was Jesus, the Messiah.
Both men were named Jesus, a familiar name. Jesus, also translated as Joshua, means “Yahweh saves.” The first Jesus saw God’s salvation of his people coming through insurrection, a violent overthrown of Roman rule. But the second Jesus saw God’s salvation coming to his people through his own death on the cross.
The first Jesus was Barabbas, a name which means son of Abba (father). The second Jesus was also Barabbas, the Son of the Father. The first was of human origin. While the second was the incarnate second person of the triune God.
The crowd was persuaded to choose the first Jesus and to condemn the second one to death. They chose a human path to salvation and rejected God’s way. Each of us also faces the choice the crowd faced that day. Will we choose God’s way? Or will we choose our own? Our way leads to death. Only by choosing Jesus, the Son of the Father, will we experience God’s salvation and new life through him. Choose to follow this Jesus each and every day of your life.