November 7, 2006
Release to us Barabbas!
Those quotes are amazing, Collin. The Barabbas comparison is making my head swim, though. The Barabbas story is full of political importance. It's often at the center of these "Jesus and politics" books that I'm accumulating. Here, for example, is N.T. Wright:
[Jesus] died because he, the one who was reputed to be announcing Israel's imminent overthrow, claimed to be the royal representative of the people of God. ... It is Luke, once more, who highlights this interpretation in his account of the Barabbas incident. In 23:25 he writes: "He [Pilate] released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will." Jesus dies, quite literally, the death meant for Barabbas (the point is repeated in the narrative of the two thieves, to which we referred earlier); and Barabbas is the one "whom they asked for," the one whose acts of violent rebellion are taken by Luke as expressing the secret desires of the people. Jesus receives the punishment the Romans characteristically meted out to rebels. As if to emphasize the point, Luke follows this with the warning to the daughters of Jerusalem (23:27-31), in which Jesus identifies himself explicitly with the national aspiration: if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? This is what the Romans do even to one not guilty of rebellion; how much more when the sons of the women at present bewailing him take up actual arms and fight for God and country.
I urge you to the whole quote in context. What that might actually mean for the Maryland race in specific I'm not quite sure right now. But I do know that Delman Coates's ""Barablicans" reference is probably greater evidence that we've de-politicized the Barabbas story than that Scripture is being forced into politics.