Then the leading priests accused him of many crimes,
and Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to say something? What about all these charges against you?"
But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate's surprise.
Now it was the governor's custom to release one prisoner each year at Passover time -- anyone the people requested.
One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, convicted along with others for murder during an insurrection.
The mob began to crowd in toward Pilate, asking him to release a prisoner as usual.
"Should I give you the King of the Jews?" Pilate asked.
(For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
But at this point the leading priests stirred up the mob to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus.
"But if I release Barabbas," Pilate asked them, "what should I do with this man you call the King of the Jews?"
They shouted back, "Crucify him!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)