Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate asked the religious leaders, “What’s this man guilty of?”
They said, “He says he’s a king. He should die because he’s a rebel against Caesar. We would execute him, but we’re not allowed to do that. Therefore we’ve brought him to you.”
Pilate turned to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
“Yes, I am.”
Pilate then found out that Jesus was from Galilee, which was under Herod’s rule. Herod happened to be in Jerusalem so Pilate sent Jesus to him.
Herod was glad because he wanted to see some miracles. But Jesus wouldn’t even talk to him. Finally Herod and his guards mocked Jesus by putting kingly robes on him and sending him back to Pilate.
The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of many crimes, but he stood there and didn’t defend himself. Pilate said, “Don’t you hear what they’re saying? What’s your defense?” Still, Jesus said nothing.
Pilate finally concluded there was no proof that Jesus was guilty of any crime worthy of death. He then thought of a way he could set the man free. Every Passover, he released a prisoner to the people. He thought he could simply beat Jesus, and then release him.
Pilate was about to present this to the people, when his wife sent him a message. “I’ve had nightmares about the man you have on trial. Don’t do anything to him. He’s innocent.”
Pilate stood before the people. “Which one shall I release to you—Jesus called Messiah, or Barabbas, a thief and a murderer?”
The religious leaders knew that Pilate might do this, so they had prepared the people. “Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!”
Pilate was shocked. “What should I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?”
Pilate turned away because he didn’t want to kill an innocent man. Finally the Jewish leaders threatened him, “If you release this man, we’ll tell Caesar you helped a man who was in rebellion against the empire.”
Pilate went back to reason with the people, “Do you want me to crucify your King?”
They shouted louder and louder. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! We have no King but Caesar!”
Pilate realized the people were on the verge of a riot. He finally gave in to their wishes, and called for a basin of water. He washed his hands in front of them and said, “You’re witnesses that I’m innocent. This man’s blood isn’t on my hands.”
They shouted, “Let his blood be upon us and our children!”
With that, Pilate had Jesus whipped and then handed him over to the guards to be crucified.