Mark 15:11-15

Mark 15:11 (KJB)
But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.

Barabbas was probably not very popular with the people assembled at Pilate’s court because it seemed the chief priests and elders had to continually persuade the crowd to shout out in favor of Barabbas. Then there were those who were already against Jesus and did not need any persuading. This crowd was under the authority of the High Priest and no doubt were gathered by his henchmen. The majority of the people had stayed outside of Jerusalem and were the ones a week earlier who cried out “Hosanna” when Jesus came into Jerusalem, so the crowd that called for the crucifixion of Jesus was basically a strict Jerusalem crowd. Their blindness caused them to believe that if they crucified Jesus that it would be the end, little did they know it was just the beginning.

Mark 15:12 (KJB)
And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?

Pilate still holding out that maybe they would have Jesus banished from Israel, he asks them what should he do with Jesus which is called Christ? Their hatred had hit such a crescendo that now there was no turning back for Jesus from the approaching sentence. It seems in one accord the crowd had now called for His crucifixion. This crowd was not backing down from their hatred for Jesus and now they seemed to have gained their goal.

Mark 15:13 (KJB)
And they cried out again, Crucify him.

The crowd had continued to yell and call for the crucifixion of Jesus. It is interesting in the Greek, the word for “crucify” is in the Imperative mood meaning the crowds were literally commanding Pilate to crucify Jesus. The crowd was now becoming more agitated as the scribes and Pharisees were going throughout the crowd and goading them on.

Mark 15:14 (KJB)
Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.

Pilate continued to hold dialog with the crowd and now he asks them what evil hath He done? Of course, the people could not bring one true accusation against Jesus so that was another one of Pilate’s questions which went unanswered. Instead of answering Pilate’s question, they continued to yell at even a greater height of voice that they wanted Jesus to be crucified. Pilate showed his weakness as a Roman governor because he allowed the crowd to dictate the fate of Jesus. He should have been the one to determine if Jesus should receive any type of punishment, not the crowd. Mob rule will never foster a reasonable response or offer any proper type of solution. It seemed that Pilate had obeyed the command of the crowd.

Mark 15:15 (KJB)
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

Then Barabbas was finally released to the people and the crucifixion of Jesus had begun. Under Roman law a condemned prisoner is normally scourged with a special whip. This leather thongs contained pieces of metal which were at various intervals. It also contained bits of bone and pieces of bronze. Bronze is a very heavy metal and it would help drive the scourge deeper into the body causing extreme pain with every lash. It was a short whip designed intentionally for torture. The majority of the prisoners never made it to the cross because they died under the lash of the scourge, also known as a flagrum or flagellum.

Under the Jewish law a person could receive no more than 39 lashes but under Roman law there was no prescribed amount. The Roman lictor would oversee the flogging and could stop it at any time if they wanted the prisoner to live and face the cross. Jesus was scourged with this type of whip and it was also designed to cling on to the prisoner so when the executioner pulled it away, it would bring out large chunks of flesh exposing the ribs or other bones. Jesus received many lashes with this scourge but did not die from it because the lictor stopped it in time. Then when the scourging was over, Jesus was then handed over to the other executioners to be crucified on a cross.