“ 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.”
Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
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. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.” (Luke 23:13-25)
Pilate reiterates the innocence of Jesus. He tries to pacify the crowd by offering to punish him and then release him. But that doesn’t do. The crowd demands that Jesus be crucified. They probably could have gotten away with stoning him themselves, but they want him crucified because to die in such a manner, to hang from a tree, showed that you were accursed from God. This they thought would put an end to Jesus being followed, it would tarnish his memory enough that people would not pay attention to his teachings any longer. They did not count on the resurrection. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the resurrection this plan would have worked. Nothing that Jesus had ever said would be known to us. But Pilate really doesn’t want to crucify Jesus so he offers to free him. The crowd demands that they free Barabbas. Now Barabbas was guilty of many crimes, he was a murderer and a robber. There was no question concerning his guilt. But he went free, and the innocent man died. Barabbas was set free by the death of Christ. He is us. Barabbas is the perfect picture for every man woman and child in this world. Jesus died in our place that we might be set free. His death is our freedom. We are guilty. Jesus is innocent. Yet Jesus dies, so that we might have life.