Something that I recently fell upon while reading Pope Benedict XVI's book, "Jesus of Nazareth: Volume 1" is the historical value of the Biblical figure Barabbas. In all of the Gospels, Barabbas appears during the trial of Jesus Christ when Pontius Pilate allows the Jewish crowd to select one prisoner to set free. They choose Barabbas, and Christ is sent to be crucified. What most people don't realize is that Barabbas was not just some common thief or troublemaker.
The very name "Barabbas" comes from the Hebrew "bar-Abbas" meaning "son of the Father." This "son of the Father" was believed to be the Messiah, declaring war against the Roman occupation of Jerusalem and leading the Jewish militant against Rome. The Jews had traditionally believed for years that the Messiah would be a militant warrior, a rebel, overthrowing the oppression of foreign rule and creating a new political kingdom. When Jesus came and preached His message of faith, hope, and love, as well as a new Kingdom of God that did not reside in the strength of men, many Jews were disappointed to hear it. So, they turned to Barabbas as their leader, believing him to be the true Messiah. It is an interesting contrast from the true Messiah who stood directly beside Barabbas and willingly accepted His death, necessary to found the true Kingdom of Jerusalem.
An interesting thought. But more to come.