We have a fact and two conflicting interpretations.

Barrabas is mentioned in al four gospels.
Which has to mean something.

One interpretation posits that the whole story was made up.
That Barrabas himself was not a real person and that there was no such thing as a “custom whereby the Romans would release a condemned prisoner on the occasion of a holy day
OK, but for what reason?
to shift the blame for Jesus’ death away from the Roman authorities and onto the shoulders of the Jews
By the time the gospels had been written, most of the Christians were living under the Roman authority and outside Palestine. So a little benevolence curried from the Romans couldn’t hurt…
Except the Jews…
Historically, the release of Barabbas at the crowd’s behest, and their subsequent demands to crucify Jesus, have been used to justify anti-Semitism. Many have placed blame for Christ’s death on the Jews, commonly citing Matthew 27:25, in which the crowd shouts, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Another interpretation takes the opposite view.
The whole episode is considered to be true as described and interprets Barrabas as “a flesh-and-blood symbol for you and for me. At this moment the Gospel story paints Barabbas as Everyone. The guilty go free, and the Holy One dies. Barabbas becomes the first one who can say, “Jesus died for me.”

Being an agnostic, somewhat simplifies things. For me.
At the emotional level, I prefer the second interpretation.
At the rational level, I appreciate the effort made by the first interpretation towards finding a logical explanation for the whole thing. Which explanation might actually be true. In the sense that the evangelists, all four of them, might have indeed tried to lessen the Roman responsibility for Christ’s death.

What bothers me is why so many of the readers have accepted the story as plausible?
A crowd to send a bandit to freedom and an innocent to death?
How likely is this?

But what if the crowd was biased?

Well, not the crowd, since the episode was most likely invented.
The individuals who had a message to convey to their readers. To us.

Let’s start with the beginning. The Old Testament.
According to this writing, the covenants were made between God and the people of Israel. Which gave the people of Israel a special place. They were His people. The chosen ones.
The New Testament changes all this. Jesus died for all of those who accept his sacrifice.
The Jews are no longer the only chosen ones.

The way I see it, the ordinary Jews have no problem with this.
I have no knowledge of Jews discriminating against Christians. Except for the claims made by the anti-Semites…
I’m not so sure though about the likes of Caiaphas… “a member of the council when he gave his opinion that Jesus should be put to death “for the people, and that the whole nation perish not”
After all, Caiaphas – and all those in the same position, were the only ones who had anything to lose as a consequence of Jesus’s teachings.
As a consequence of all people, not only those who followed the likes of Caiaphas, being able to consider themselves as being children of the same God.
Only the likes of Caiaphas had anything to lose from all followers of Christ considering themselves equal among themselves.

Not at all different from what had happened after Luther had nailed his famous theses to the door of the Wittenberg church.
The established hierarchy felt it’s throne was becoming wobbly and reacted forcefully…

What if the real meaning of the whole Barrabas story is for us, the readers of the Gospels, to be extra careful when we evaluate the ‘recommendations’ given to us by the ‘authorities’ of the moment?
Specially when those ‘authorities’ are about to loose their clout…