Barabbas figures here as sort of an alter ego of Jesus, who makes the same claim but understands it in a completely different way. So the choice is between a Messiah who leads an armed struggle, promises freedom and a kingdom of one's own, and this mysterious Jesus who proclaims that losing oneself is the way to life. Is it any wonder that the crowds prefer Barabbas?He goes on in the next paragraph to ask a question I don't think any of us really want to answer:
If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance? Do we really know Jesus at all? Do we understand him? Do we not perhaps have to make an effort, today as always, to get to know him all over again? The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the devil. He merely suggests that we opt for the reasonable decision, that we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere with our essential purposes.How often do we tend to the matters of this world while de-prioritizing God's role in it? How often are we anxious about this world - that's the first question that comes to my mind when I ponder this question. Do I trust God, or am I a controlling type who wants to know and control my ultimate destiny? Do we, on a daily basis, pick Jesus or do we go with the other, more reasonable alternative?