Pilate must have thought the crowd was crazy, why would they reject an innocent man and choose a murderer to go free? Pilate believed that Jesus was the King of the Jews, he desired to free Jesus because of the dream his wife had about him. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” Matthew 27:19 NASB. Pilate was aware of the custom of the Jews to release a prisoner each year at the time of the Passover and thought for sure they would choose Jesus over Barabbas. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” John 18:39 NLT. Pilate in his zeal to get Jesus released had him flogged, beaten to a pulp as one would say in order to win the people’s mercy for him saying; “Behold the man” Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!” John 19:5 NLT. To his total surprise, the Chief Priests chose Barabbas and rejected Jesus, shouting; “Crucify Him”. It was God’s will that Barabbas go free and Jesus be crucified! Pilate was much afraid, he knew Jesus was innocent and believed he was the King of the Jews. He ordered a sign to be put on the cross; “Jesus the Nazarene, “The King of the Jews”. Neither Pilate, the Chief Priests nor the crowd sentenced Jesus to be put to death, God willed it. Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world Revelation 13:8 NASB.
The Apostle Peter explained this to his people in his preaching recorded in the Book of Acts, the Jews who heard were “Pierced to the heart” by the Holy Spirit and repented as Peter had told them to do. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. Acts 2:23 NIV.
As Peter had told them it was God’s pre-determined will that Jesus go to the cross for the sins of the Nation. Caiaphas who was the High Priest that year had prophesied that Jesus would die for the Nation; this is another confirmation that it was God’s will, not man’s that Jesus was put to death! This was the Prophesy of Caiaphas; Nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” John 11:50 NASB.
God’s word says that without the shedding of blood there would be no remission of sins. It was the will of God the Father to send his Son, God the Word to die for our sins, the just for the unjust! Our fallen nature with all its sin was represented by Barabbas the murderer and prisoner. Jesus died and we were set free, loosed from our sins and God’s Judgment.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard Romans 3:23 NLT.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NASB.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT.