13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”
18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. ” Luke 23:13–19 ESV Read More
Pilate is still trying to get out of this and keep everyone happy at the same time. Unfortunately, good leaders can’t always do what is right and what makes everyone happy, right? That’s where the true character of a person shows. A lot of people ask “What would you do if no one was watching?” But an equally good show of character is “What would you do if everyone was watching?”
First he proposes to punish (ie. torture) and release Jesus. Whatever is making these people so angry that they would take time away from their seven-day Passover feast and make this mob-scene might go away if Jesus was beaten. Many men didn’t survive the whipping of the Romans anyway, so that gives Pilate a way out. Maybe Jesus would survive and he wouldn’t feel bad for killing this quiet Jew.
Then the whole Barabbas Insult happens. Just like American Presidents on Christmas, Pilate would pardon somebody on Passover. Barabbas is locked up for insurrection, of which they accused Jesus, and murder. We don’t know who he murdered, but it had to be either a Roman, in which case Pilate must bring justice for his own authority, or a Jew, which means Barabbas killed one of his own countrymen. If one of his own, the crowds would rather free this murderer of their own people than let Jesus live!
The insult lies in his name. The bar prefix means “son of” and abba means “father” or more specifically “dad.” Here is a guy whose name means “son of the father” and he is being called out instead of the One who is the “Son of the Father.” Some commentators have seen this as the people wanting “any man” instead of Jesus. Others say it represents our nature to want to be sons of Adam, who fell to sin in the garden, rather than being sons of God.
All of those things could be true, but one thing is certain, Jesus is now condemned. Pilate could have called in an army, but didn’t for fear of the people. Jesus could have called in an army, but didn’t for love of the Father.
Hearing the shouts of the people confirmed what would happen next. It was what He had been preparing Himself and the disciples for during the past few years together.