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John 18:40

ESV They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
NIV They shouted back, 'No, not him! Give us Barabbas!' Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
NASB So they shouted again, saying, 'Not this Man, but Barabbas.' Now Barabbas was a rebel.
CSB They shouted back, "Not this man, but Barabbas! " Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
NLT But they shouted back, 'No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!' (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)
KJV Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

What does John 18:40 mean?

The Roman governor, Pilate, has interrogated Jesus after accusations of rebellion (John 18:30–32). During that interview, it became clear that Jesus was not a political threat (John 18:33–38). The person in question, Barabbas, is identified as a murderer and rebel (Luke 23:18–19). In one sense, Pilate seems to be pushing back against the claims of Jesus' enemies. He knows, with certainty, that Jesus is innocent and that this is a personal vendetta (Matthew 27:18, Mark 15:10). By offering someone who is clearly guilty of crimes against Rome, he may be trying to outmaneuver the scribes and Pharisees.

However, Christ's enemies have assembled a mob, who will eventually threaten to riot (Matthew 27:24). They will continue to insist that Jesus should be executed for defying Roman rule (John 19:12–15). While it's clear that Pilate has little respect for the Jewish people (John 18:35), he's also in a bad political situation. History suggests his brutal, violent approach put him at risk of losing his position as governor. If civil unrest breaks out during a major religious holiday (John 18:28), and includes accusations of both blasphemy (John 19:7) and sedition (Luke 23:1–5), it will not end well for the Roman governor.

Pilate's next step will be to see if merely humiliating and abusing Jesus will be enough to satisfy the mob (John 19:1–5). It will not (John 19:6).
What is the Gospel?
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