And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Mark 15:14-15
Pilate did not want to kill Jesus. He was amazed at the way Jesus conducted himself while being accused of many things. Perhaps his own moral compass caused him to seek justice. In Matthew’s Gospel he gets word from his wife to have nothing to do with Jesus. It was a high period of power and prosperity in the Roman empire and he may have taken pride in his role as governor and desired to honestly do his job well. Whatever the reason he tried to talk the people out of what they wanted to do and sought to release Jesus. He thought having him scourged would satisfy their desire for wrath and that’s why Jesus was whipped before being crucified. He offered to release Barabbas the murderer or Jesus thinking surely they would chose to free Jesus if those were the only two choices.
Look again at verse 15; wishing to satisfy the crowd… he delivered him to be crucified. How many times have we gone along with the crowd when it wasn’t really what we wanted to do? How many times should we have said something but it was easier to go along with the group think? How many wrongs have been done throughout history because pleasing the crowd is easier than taking a stand? We don’t hear much anymore about peer pressure but that’s akin to what happened here. The Jews weren’t really his peers, after all Pilate was a politician.
But food for thought: the next time you follow the crowd knowing that it is the wrong thing to do, that kind of thinking killed Jesus. In order to please the crowd, Barabbas the murderer was released from jail and Jesus was sent to the cross.