The Roman soldiers had bound Jesus and led Him to the hall of judgment, where He was brought
before Pontius Pilate to stand trial for blasphemy. Pilate was a Roman governor who served under
Caesar. At that time, the Romans had control over the laws of the land. Pilate questioned Jesus,
but could find no fault in Him, and wanted to free Him.
Many had gathered outside, waiting for Pilate's decision, so he called out to them, saying "I can
find no fault in this man." But the crowd became angry, demanding that Jesus be punished. Pilate
did not want to be responsible for punishing an innocent man, and argued that Jesus be spared.
The Jewish law allowed one person to be freed from prison during Passover; and this being the
second day of Passover, Pilate suggested that Jesus be set free. But the crowd grew even
more angry, shouting loudly, saying that Jesus must die, and that a murderer named Barabbas
should be set free instead of Jesus.
Pilate returned to question Jesus again and again, yet still could not find fault in Him. The
people continued to protest, saying "This man thinks himself a king!" Pilate's soldiers then
mocked Jesus and taunted Him, and made a crown of thorns and forced it upon His head;
Then they put a tattered purple robe on Him, as purple was the color for kings. And Pilate took
Jesus and showed Him to the people, hoping that this humiliation would
satisfy them; but they
would not change their minds.
They believed that Jesus had committed the worst kind of blasphemy by claiming to be
the Son of God, and they wanted Him to die for it. When they finally threatened to tell
Caesar, Pilate agreed to let them have their way. He feared that he might lose his power
of authority if he didn't please the people; and so with great guilt, Pilate sentenced
Jesus to be crucified, and allowed Barabbas, the murderer to be set free.
Pontius Pilate washed his hands in a bowl of water,
for all to see, and said, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person." And the crowd answered, "His
blood be on us and on our children." But Pilate was not able to wash away the guilt he felt for sentencing
Jesus to death.