Do you think Pilate was sympathetic towards Jesus, or do you think he was simply mocking Jesus throughout this hearing? Part of me reads this story and believes Pilate really wanted to do the right thing and release Jesus, that he did not find any fault and wondered why the religious leaders (who were waiting for a Messiah) really wanted this man dead. He asks a questions we all must ask, “What should I do with Jesus?” (v12). What will you do with Jesus? Will you write him off as a lunatic and liar? Will you think of him only as a good teacher? Or will you let him be Lord and King and begin to rule in your life? Pilate almost did the right thing, but he let the voices of the people prevail, turning Jesus over to be crucified. Which voice will you listen to?
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the lawand the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they shouted.
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.