92. Pilate Punishes Jesus.
Again Pilate did not find Jesus guilty and wanted to release him. Since it was customary to release a Jewish prisoner at the Passover, he offered to release Jesus; for he could see that the religious authorities were condemning him out of resentment. To gain a rival with popular support the Jewish leaders asked for the violent revolutionary Barabbas instead. Attempting to assuage their feelings Pilate had Jesus whipped and mocked as a ridiculous king; perhaps by humiliating him the Jewish authorities would be satisfied.
Pilate did not find him guilty of any crime against Roman law, and his wife warned him that a dream had revealed to her that this was a good man who was suffering unjustly; her own conscience pleaded for him. So again Pilate gave the Jews a choice between Barabbas and Jesus, but in the mob scene the shouting of the Jewish leaders and the revolutionary sympathizers prevailed. The frenzy of the mob increased and shouted for the crucifixion of Jesus, the most cruel form of punishment. As crucifixion was a Roman punishment, the verdict had to come from Pilate.
Since his job was to keep order, the disturbance of the crowd was very upsetting to Pilate. Therefore Pilate asked Jesus some more questions in order to find some way of solving the problem. Perhaps if Jesus admitted he was a Galilean, then Pilate could make Herod take the case; however, Jesus did not answer. Pilate felt that the life of Jesus was in his hands, and he wanted his cooperation so that he could find a way to release him.
However, Jesus saw the larger picture and ultimately where all authority comes from, and he knew that it had to occur in this way. Pilate tried the crowd once more, but now they began to argue that he was not being loyal to Caesar. Finally Pilate gave in to the murderous crowd and symbolically washed his hands to show it was not his will to do this and to absolve his own guilt. The mob accepted the responsibility for the punishment. Pilate then released Barabbas and ordered that Jesus be crucified.