Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. "Are you the King of the Jews?" the governor asked him.Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say."12
But when the leading priests and other leaders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.
"Don't you hear their many charges against you?" Pilate demanded.
But Jesus said nothing, much to the governor's great surprise.
Now it was the governor's custom to release one prisoner to the crowd each year during the Passover celebration -- anyone they wanted.
This year there was a notorious criminal in prison, a man named Barabbas. a17
As the crowds gathered before Pilate's house that morning, he asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you -- Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?"
(He knew very well that the Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: "Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night."
Meanwhile, the leading priests and other leaders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.
So when the governor asked again, "Which of these two do you want me to release to you?" the crowd shouted back their reply: "Barabbas!"
"But if I release Barabbas," Pilate asked them, "what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" And they all shouted, "Crucify him!"
"Why?" Pilate demanded. "What crime has he committed?" But the crowd only roared the louder, "Crucify him!"
Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!"
And all the people yelled back, "We will take responsibility for his death -- we and our children!" b26
So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him.
Some of the governor's soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire battalion.
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.
They made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they placed a stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery, yelling, "Hail! King of the Jews!"
And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and beat him on the head with it.
When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
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)