Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?
|| Mark 15:6-14; Luke 23:13-23; John 18:38b-40
MT27:15 Now according to the custom during the [Jewish] festivals the governor would release a prisoner by the choice of the crowd. MT27:16 At that time there was a notorious prisoner named Barabbas. MT27:17 Leading [Barabbas and Jesus] together [before the crowd] Pilate asked them: “Who do you want me to release? Barabbas or the one called ‘Messiah’ – Jesus?” MT27:18 For Pilate realized it was because of jealousy [the religious hierarchy] had turned Jesus over to him. MT27:19 Now while sitting on his judgment-seat Pilate’s woman approached him and warned, “A dream about him has tormented me today! Have nothing to do with that righteous man!” MT27:20 But the religious hierarchy and the Jewish elders persuaded the crowd so that they asked for the release of Barabbas, while they should destroy Jesus. MT27:21 Governor Pilate responded and asked the crowd: “Which of the two do you want me to release?” The crowd said, “Barabbas!” MT27:22 Pilate asked, “So what shall I do with Jesus, the one said to be ‘Messiah’?” The mob screamed, “Execute him!” MT27:23 Pilate asked: “For what crime?” But the mob cried even louder, “Execute him!”
 Barabbas: John 18:40 adds, “… a robber.” Mark 15:7 adds, “… in bonds with the seditionists, who in their sedition had committed murder.” His name is mentioned 11 times in the Gospels. His name possibly means, “Son of the teacher.” (A rabbi’s son?)
 Because of jealousy: Or, PME: through sheer malice.
 A dream about him has tormented me: Or, KNX: I dreamed I suffered much on his account; NEB: I was much troubled; GDSP: for I have just had a painful experience in a dream about him; PME: I went through agonies dreaming about him last night.
 Have nothing to do with: Or, KNX: do not meddle with this innocent man; BECK: let that righteous man alone.
 Execute him: The Greek is STAUROTHETO which literally means to impale on a stake or tree. Traditionally this is “crucify him.” Some think the root word STAUROS means a simple upright pole without a cross-beam. Others believe the word to include a stake with a cross-beam. Research the word cross or STAUROS. Because of the two views – each with their logical reasons – we choose a neutral phrase execute or instrument of execution. When the Greek XYLON is used we will prefer “tree.” Those who wish may read “crucify him!”
 The mob cried even louder: KJV: a tumult was made; RSV: a riot was beginning; KNX: the uproar only became worse; LAM: confusion was increasing.
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