But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted.
This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas.
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 religious 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. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.
So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even 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 this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”