Who is Barsabbas?
Barsabbas is by no means a familiar character in the Bible. In fact, he is only mentioned twice—both times in the book of Acts. What makes him an intriguing fellow is his character and integrity.
You see, Barsabbas, along with Matthias, were both considered to become Judas’s replacement, to become the twelfth disciple. Instead of conducting interviews (as would be done nowadays) or even taking a vote, the decision was made by a game of chance. That seems a cavalier and unspiritual thing to do.
To do this, the people prayed for God’s guidance in this process, trusting him in the outcome—and then they drew lots. Matthias was selected (Acts 1:23-26). Barsabbas could have pouted, felt rejected, left the group in a huff, or been mad at the leaders.
He could have even been angry with God. After all, if God’s hand was really in this selection, as they had prayed, then it was God who decided to not pick Barsabbas. Its one thing for a person to tell you “no,” but for God to say “no” carries much more weight.
Yet we don’t hear of him having any of these negative responses. We see no indication that he reacted with disappointment. Apparently, he stuck around and continued to make God his priority and focus, for we next hear of him in Acts 15:22 where he was chosen to be part of an important delegation sent to Antioch.
He proved his true character in how he reacted to not being chosen—that’s integrity.
Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.