What does Mark 15:7 mean?
ESV: And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.
NIV: A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.
NASB: And the one named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the rebels who had committed murder in the revolt.
CSB: There was one named Barabbas, who was in prison with rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion.
NLT: One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising.
KJV: And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
NKJV: And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.
Verse Commentary:
Not much is known about Barabbas. "Bar" means son or son of. "Abbas" means the father. There is no extra-biblical record of him or what insurrection or murder he may have been involved in. Some scholars think he is an ancient-era version of Robin Hood: one who attacks the rich who destroy the poor Galileans with debt and take their land. Or, it may be that Pilate presents the crowd with Barabbas and Jesus because Barabbas is so vile he doesn't think they'll choose him. But it isn't the crowd that chooses Barabbas, it's the chief priests and elders (Matthew 27:20). They convince the crowd to yell for Barabbas' release and Jesus' crucifixion.

Revolts have become a constant in Rome's relationship with the Jews. Since the Jews returned from Babylon, the Jews have had only a few years of independence. At first, the Medo-Persian Empire still ruled. In 333 BC, the Greeks took command, but only ten years later, the Egyptians moved in. In 204 BC, the Syrians took possession, sold the priesthood, and desecrated the Holy of Holies. The Maccabean revolt drove the Syrians out in 165 BC and the Jews continued fighting the Syrians until Rome started its rule in 63 BC. Around the time of Jesus' birth, Judas of Galilee led a resistance against Quirinius' census (Luke 2:1–2).

Shortly after Pilate became procurator or governor over Judea, he allowed Roman soldiers to bring images of Caesar into Jerusalem. In the ensuing confrontation, the Jews proved willing to die rather than give up their demands the images be removed. Pilate took down the standards. But, later he set up shields honoring Tiberius in Herod's Palace in Jerusalem; this was done primarily to irritate the Jews. Tiberius scolded him and told him to take the shields to Caesarea. At some point, Pilate also used temple funds to build an aqueduct. When the inevitable crowd gathered, threatening to riot, Pilate had disguised soldiers attack the Jews with knives and clubs, killing some.

As a result of these gaffes, some scholars believe Pilate was governing on something of a "last-chance agreement." His apparent concern for the mob's demands might have been out of a desire to avoid another riot, which might lead to the loss of his position. In this way, Pilate—like the Sanhedrin—is putting his own interests above those of truth and innocence (John 11:48).

Whatever insurrection Barabbas was a part of, it is just one in a long line that Pilate has endured, and possibly one of many he brought on himself. Pilate has a great deal of experience in knowing where trouble will come from. As such, he knows Jesus isn't one of those places.
Verse Context:
Mark 15:6–15 describes history's greatest miscarriage of justice. The Sanhedrin has convicted Jesus with blasphemy, a crime in the Mosaic law (Mark 14:61–64). Such a charge won't convince the Roman authorities to execute Jesus, so they present Him to Pilate as an imminent insurrectionist (Luke 23:2, 5). Pilate interrogates Jesus and finds Him harmless (John 18:33–38). Pilate then sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, who also finds the Sanhedrin's charges baseless (Luke 23:6–15). Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate who must decide: risk rebellion by the Jewish leadership or kill an innocent man? Pilate's decision is also found in Matthew 27:15–26, Luke 23:13–25, and John 18:38—19:16.
Chapter Summary:
After sham trials, Jesus is taken to the local Roman governor, Pilate. This is the only person in Jerusalem with the legal authority to have Jesus executed. Pilate is not fooled, and he attempts to arrange for Jesus' release. But the ruler's ploys fail, in part because Jesus will not defend Himself, and partly because the mob is intent on His death. Pilate offers a prisoner exchange in Barabbas, and even has Jesus brutally beaten in order to pacify the crowd. Eventually, he caves in and Jesus is crucified. Thanks to His prior abuse, Jesus survives only a few hours on the cross before dying. Jesus is then buried in a tomb belonging to a secret follower among the Jerusalem council.
Chapter Context:
After being unfairly judged, Jesus will now be unfairly sentenced and cruelly murdered. It's reasonable to say this chapter provides context for everything else contained in the Bible. From Adam and Eve until the last baby born in the millennial kingdom, every person other than Christ is stained with sin. Conscience, law, Jesus' direct leadership, even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot keep us from sinning. Sinless Jesus had to die on the cross, sacrificing Himself in our place, so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. Beneath the violence, darkness, dishonor, and death is the love of God for all mankind (John 3:16). Jesus' crucifixion is also found in Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19. The next chapter describes the miracle of His resurrection.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/28/2024 6:56:52 PM
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