After lively discussion concerning points of faith versus points of fact; I decided to delve into this issue. I think the parable, or story, of Barabbas and Jesus, accurately “known” as Yeshua, is where I will begin.
In Roman times, the times of Pontius Pilate in particular, the Romans were fairly accurate historians and rather meticulous book keepers. There is no record of “prisoners” named Barabbas or Yeshua. In fact, the only record that exists is that of the Gospels of Mark and Luke. This story involving these characters, represents choices that we all must make.
So, who are the characters of Barabbas, Yeshua and Pontius Pilate? What principles do these three characters represent? Let us start with Pontius Pilate.
Pontius Pilate was an actual historical figure who was the Fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judea from AD 26-36. As prefect, he served under the Emperor Tiberius. According to historian Josephus, he was ordered back to Rome after harshly suppressing a Samaritan uprising, arriving just after the death of Tiberius, which occurred on 16 March in 37 AD. He was replaced by Marcellus. Little is known of Pilate otherwise, and there are no formal records of his birth or early life. Other than canonical Gospel, there is no existence anywhere of the trial of Yeshua . In this story, Pontius Pilate represents the conscience or free will principle. He could also represent “the devil’s advocate” principle. The people are freely given the choice to free either Barabbas or Yeshua and Pilate does not seek to influence the decision. He presents the facts that “no fault” can be found with Yeshua and that Barabbas was already a convicted thief and murderer. He leaves the decision of freedom for the prisoners up to the people. Pilate represents the devil’s advocate principle by simply stating he finds no fault with Yeshua, despite the machinations of the Sanhedrin.
Yeshua bin Yosef, known as Yeshua bin Pantera to the Jews (as they state that his mother Mary was a whore who laid with a Roman Centurion named Pantera and begat Yeshua) represents the “truth” principle in this story. Yeshua was a dissenter, a revolutionary. He was however, a passive revolutionary that taught non-violence. “Turning the other cheek” ran counter to the traditional “Eye for an eye”. He taught to not blindly follow the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin of Judaism. He ran this group out of the temple with a cat-o-nine tails for usury. Usury was a sin according to Yeshua’s teachings, and that there was no “chosen people”. Everyone was loved and accepted equally by the creator God. This was the very definition of sedition to the Sanhedrin. Yeshua represented God’s Sun, S-U-N, not son. He was the light of the world. This was his main principle throughout his entire “life”. This principle holds true in this parable as well. People have equated light with truth since time immemorial. This principle will always hold steadfast. Light shines in the darkness and keeps the shadows at bay.
This is the Yeshua principle. However, let it be stated here that there is no archeological or historical record that Yeshua bin Yosef ever existed in human bodily form. The teachings of Yeshua were contrary to most Judaic dogma at the time. This was a radical way of thinking. Equality and salvation for all, regardless of sins committed and station in life, was one his more well known teachings that ran counter to traditional Judaism. Yeshua spent his time with the sick, afflicted; thieves and prostitutes. This was unheard of for the priest class of Jews.
The last character is Barabbas. Well, who was Barabbas? Familiarly, there is no historical record that any such man existed. Only, again, the canonical gospels refer to Barabbas. Barabbas was, as the gospels put it, “a notorious prisoner”. Some stories relate that Barabbas was a thief, a murderer, and not inconsequentially, a violent revolutionary. Barabbas, in this parable, represents the dark principle; the principle of dishonesty, dogma and indoctrination. Despite being a revolutionary; by supporting violent revolution, in paradox, Barabbas represents the old dogmatic ways of Judaism. Dogma is an authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true. When a new idea runs counter to this, the results can quite easily be explosive. This explosion involves the dissolution of indoctrination. Indoctrination literally is to imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view. The disintegration of an ideology that is seemingly the cement of society is disturbing to most, to say the least. Barabbas then, represents the old “Eye for an Eye” principle that ran counter to Yeshua’s “Turn the other Cheek” ideology.
So, how does this all turn out? Who do the people, in this case the Jews, choose? They chose the principle most of us chose. The continuation of the dark principle, the veil, the lie. It seems people, especially the Jews in the parable, gleefully choose this principle over light, truth, and freedom, They joyfully sent this principle to be tortured and killed. Sadly, it seems, people rejoice in their ignorance and their slavery.
Now, to the point of fact versus point of faith. Why is it so difficult for Christians to accept that no actual man name Yeshua ever existed when the principles he represents are absolutely honorable and valuable? There is no shame in faith. Faith, it seems, is essential to the human state. According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The absolute need for Yeshua to be a real “flesh and blood” human almost dissolves the wonderment of faith. I think the emotional attachment to Yeshua’s “human-ness” negates his true message. Something to think about.