“But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. — John 18:39-40.
Pilate suggests that the custom of releasing someone at Passover should be applied, to enable Jesus to go free. This solution would avoid both the illegal and judicial complications and also the risk of displeasing the Jews. But the opponents of Jesus are out for blood and they insist that Barabbas, a convicted criminal, should be released rather than Jesus, whom Pilate openly calls ‘the King of the Jews’. [Extracted from Bible Panorama.]