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21The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”22Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”23Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

Pilate sat in the judgment-seat to decide which one of the two prisoners he should release. He was astonished and angry when the multitude cried out that they wanted Barabbas, who was perceived to be a deliverer of the nation and a great hero.
The governor knew that it was neither good nor prudent to kill an innocent man, so he referred the decision to the Jewish people. In doing so, he tried to help Jesus by stirring the people’s religious feelings and referring to Him as “the expected Christ.”
Then the terrible word burst out for the first time: “Crucify Him!” The priests encouraged the people to shout this.
When Jesus had initially entered Jerusalem, there were so many acclamations of praise, that one would have thought He had no enemies. Now as He was led to Pilate’s judgment-seat, the cries of enmity were so overwhelming that one would think He had no friends.
Pilate was annoyed because of the people’s demand for crucifixion without cause not only because it was unjust and unfair, but also because it might become a reason for condemning the unjust judge. He asked the Jews to prove the fault of the accused, but they could not find that He had done any evil. They chose instead to respond in a riot, an uproar of wild cries of “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Lord Jesus, You are the true Christ. You stood silent before the people, cured their sick, gave life to the dead, and cast out demons from their hearts and bodies. In spite of this, they did not thank You for these great miracles. They did not defend You, but hated You. They feared public opinion, became frightened at the craftiness of the chief priests, and preferred to crucify You and kill You rather than face the unfaithfulness of their nation. Help us not to deny You at the time of temptation. Lead us to a wise testimony for You that we may defend Your truth in the midst of lies, spite, and hatred. Help us to continue to be faithful to You in the power of Your grace.
What is the extent of the Jews’ failure in presenting conclusive political evidence to condemn Jesus?