Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. – Mark 15:6-15
The other day in chapel, the speaker pointed to that Barabbas was the first person to benefit from Jesus’ death. I had never thought about it that way before, and I fell to pondering.
I wonder if Barabbas knew.
He hadn’t asked to be released – at least, not as far as we know. It seems like it was the chief priests’ idea. We tend to implicitly blame Barabbas for being freed instead of Jesus, but we have no evidence that he even knew what was going on.
Whatever the case, he surely heard from somebody how he came to be released. It was kind of a big deal.
But did he realize the significance?
Did he realize that he was the first person saved by the death of the Son of God?
Was he grateful? Apathetic? Angry?
Did he become a Christian?
I have no idea. But I like to hope so.