Mark 15:6-10

Mark 15:6 (KJB)
Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.

The Passover was at hand and there was a custom, to appease the nation of Israel and gain favor in their eyes, the Roman governor would release a prisoner. The prisoner would be one of the nation’s choosing. Granting amnesty to a prisoner was also a right given to Roman governors. It was here that Pilate had hoped Jesus would be freed.

Mark 15:7 (KJB)
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.

Barabbas was a murderer but it was the kind of prisoner the Jews wanted released because he had made insurrection against Rome and no doubt killed some Romans. Israel was looking for a Messiah like Joshua who would throw off the yoke of Rome and Barabbas fit the type. I remember some years ago about 1981-2, the New York Times ran an article on Barabbas claiming that it was Jesus who was released. Barabbas means “son of the father.” So the liberal article claimed that Jesus never went to the cross because He was released, being the “Son of the Father.” The attacks on the life of Christ have only increased since 1982 and they are getting worse.

Mark 15:8 (KJB)
And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.

The crowd had started to yell that they now wanted Pilate to do for them the custom which had been done before and that was to release one prisoner to them. There was a great number of those who had wanted Barabbas to be released. These were the ones who were probably not caught by the Romans in the insurrection. Now they wanted their choice of prisoner and that was going to be Barabbas.

Mark 15:9 (KJB)
But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

Now keep in mind that this was no small crowd which assembled. According to Josephus, there were about a quarter of a million people in Jerusalem that weekend but a crowd that size would not have been able to fit in Pilate’s court yet there would have been room for several thousand and no doubt, it was filled with those who were against Jesus. Pilate then hoped that if he brought Jesus out with Barabbas, they would find that Jesus was innocent and would ask for His release. Barabbas was a violent man and Pilate knew if he was released, then it would only be a matter of a short time that he would be in trouble again. Pilate, in his own way had tried to sway the crowd by only mentioning the name of Jesus and not Barabbas.

Mark 15:10 (KJB)
For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

Pilate knew that Jesus was handed over to him because of the envy of the leaders who saw that the common people were very attracted to Jesus and they were fearing that if things did not go back to normal as it was before, then Rome would come and take their country and then take their places as leaders. The leaders were not well loved by their countrymen because the people knew that they were just in those positions to gain wealth and prominence. They did not care about the common people as Jesus did and they knew it.