Jesus Instead of Barabbas

In this passage, Matthew records the trial of Jesus before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate (Mat. 27:11-26). Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” With His reply, “You say” Jesus answered Pilate’s question in the affirmative. That there was a difference between what Jesus meant by “the King of the Jews” and what Pilate meant is indicated in John’s account. In the context of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, John wrote, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36). Though Jesus indicated to Pilate that He and His servants had no intention of fighting Rome, and though Pilate even sought to release Him, it was Jesus’ claim to be Israel’s King that seemed to ultimately persuade Pilate to have Jesus crucified (John 19:12-16). The Jews put Pilate in a precarious position when they argued before him, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar” (see John 19:12).
In fact, at the time of Passover, the governor was accustomed to releasing or letting a prisoner go whom the people chose. They chose to have Barabbas, a murderer, released and to have Jesus their Messiah crucified. Even Pilate asked, “Why, what evil has He done?” Also, his wife had previously sent him a message about Jesus even while he was sitting on the judgment seat, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” But Pilate gave in to the will of the people and had Jesus crucified instead of Barabbas who deserved it. I am reminded of what Peter wrote in his first epistle, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just instead of the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (See 1Peter 3:18).