John 18:39 – Jesus and Barabbas


The comparison between Jesus and Barabbas is telling (Jn 18: 39-40). Jesus is presented as the “King of the Jews” (Jn 18: 39). Already in John 1: 49 Nathaniel used this as a title for Jesus. In John 19: 14-15, Pilate will use it again. When people choose Barabbas to be released, the evangelist tells the reader that he was a robber (Jn 18: 40). Thus making the contrast between “the King of the Jews” and “the robber”. Pilate had said earlier about Jesus, “I find no crime in him” (Jn 18: 38). Hence people choose that the innocent person be rejected and punished; and the culprit and robber be released.

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