Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Comment: As we saw yesterday, Jesus, having been to Herod’s court, returns to Pilate. There is a cry from the crowd, for Pilate, as was his yearly custom at passover time, to release a prisoner. Pilate, finding no fault in Jesus, suggested that he would release Jesus. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church calls Pilate a saint – Kidus Pilatus. They suggest this because, as seen here, he, and only he tried to free Jesus. The crowd, however, egged on by the priests chose the murderer Barabbas. The crowd’s cry of ‘crucify Him’ won the day. Cowardly, having had Jesus scourged, Pilate handed Jesus over to death.
Prayer: Help me be courageous in following You, Jesus.