17Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” [simple_tooltip content=’11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”
14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”’](Matthew 27:11-17)[/simple_tooltip]
Although Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, he looked for some diplomatic way to release Jesus that would not cause him to lose favor with the Jewish leaders. This is why he sent Jesus to Herod. He hoped that Herod would pass judgment on Jesus and save him the trouble. When that scheme failed, Pilate drew on an old custom of releasing a prisoner to the people during a feast. It was time for Passover, and he gave them a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, who was a murderer. Pilate thought the crowd would certainly choose Jesus. However, through the insistence of the chief priests and scribes, the people chose Barabbas to be released.
Pilate was now out of ideas as to how to let Jesus go and still save face with the Jews, so he condemned Jesus to death. Pilate violated what he knew to be true in his heart because of the fear of men [simple_tooltip content=’The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.’](Prov. 29:25)[/simple_tooltip] and what he thought they might do to him. Without the chief priests’ cooperation, he ran the risk of unrest among the Jews, which could bring punishment by Caesar for failing to govern well.
As it turned out, Pilate was deposed a few years later anyway by Tiberius Caesar, and he died in exile in Gaul in AD 41. At the most, sentencing Jesus to death gave Pilate a five-year extension of his troubled rule and damned his soul in the process. What a person compromises to keep, they will always lose. Going against the truth is never worth the price.
As you make decisions and evaluate situations today, set your heart to stand with the truth of God’s Word and to be led of His Holy Spirit. You have no reason to fear what people will do when you follow after the Lord’s will.