15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”
25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Barabbas (v.16) = son of Abba, son of the father — We know from Mark 15:7 and John 18:40 that Barabbas was a thief and a murderer who had been involved in a rebellion of some sort. A few manuscripts give him the name “Jesus Barabbas.” It’s possible he had portrayed himself as the messiah.
envy (v.18) — Pilate knew the priests were jealous of Jesus because of His popularity with the people, so he appealed to the people to have Him released. But the priests convinced the people to call for His crucifixion.
Although Pilate was, in a sense, a victim of circumstances because he knew his career would probably be over if he acted on his, and his wife’s conviction, he was also a coward who, in the end, not only gave Jesus over to die, but had him scourged (perhaps in a last-ditch effort to appease the crowd with a lesser punishment for Jesus than death).