Lenten Reflection: The Doppelganger of Christ
As was the custom at Passover one prisoner was to be released and pardoned for his crimes. Pilate gave the assembled crowd a choice, Jesus Christ or Barabbas. The crowd chose Barabbas.
In reading Ratzinger's "On the Way to Christ" I found out an interesting historical twist on this moment that I never before knew about.
Some of the Syriac translation of Matthew's account Barrabas' first name is revealed to also be Jesus. So we have Jesus bar-abbas, or literally translated as Jesus Son of the Father being set up against Jesus Christ. John 18:40 refers to Barabbas as a lēstēs, "bandit;" Mark and Luke further refer to Barabbas as one involved in a stasis, a riot. Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19. Matthew refers to Barabbas only as a "notorious prisoner." Matthew 27:16. Some scholars have linked these notions to Barabbas was a member of the sicarii, a militant Jewish movement that sought to overthrow the Roman occupiers of their land by force, noting that Mark (15:7) mentions that he had committed murder in an insurrection. Though some historians do trace this uprising to the 40s-50s. Many though agree that evidence is strong to point to Barabbas being a terrorist pitted agains the Roman Empire, which in sense would make him popular amongst some of the populous for the ending of Roman occupation and reestablishing the Jewish Kingdom.
So we go back to the temptation in the dessert where the tempter takes Jesus Christ to a high mountain top and offers Christ rule over all the kingdoms of the Earth if He bows to the tempter. The illusion of ruling while submitting to the tempter offered to the one who rules the Kingdom of Heaven.
Back to the crowd...so we have the crowd choosing Barrabas. Jesus Son of the Father, who is apparently out to rid Israel of the Romans and reestablish the Jewish Kingdom on Earth. Jesus the Christ, Son of the Father in a very real way, King of the Heavenly Kingdom rejected as scripture foretold, lead to the cross.
This is a very interesting and new, to me anyways, look at this moment in the life of Christ and in it find a deeper meaning and something new to meditate upon. The doppelganger notion is quite profound, popular on modern tv, but right there in the ancient texts of the Bible.