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Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Therefore, he has committed no capital crime.” Now, on the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them, as he was accustomed. At that time, they had a notorious prisoner called Jesus Barabbas who was a revolutionary. He was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion that had taken place in the city. Again, Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, “You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Which one do you want me to release to you, Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah, the king of the Jews?” He knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. However, all together, they shouted out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us! Not this one but Barabbas!” While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.” The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to have him release Barabbas and to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what do you want me to do with Jesus the man called Messiah and king of the Jews?” They all shouted again, “Crucify him! Let him be crucified!” However, Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes clothed him in purple, and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. Then kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him, took the reed, and kept striking him on the head. When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes.

Once more Pilate went out and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. He said to them, “Behold, the man!” When the chief priests and the guards saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Now, when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus did not answer him. Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Behold your king!” They cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead. With loud shouts, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, “Crucify him! Let him be crucified!” and their voices prevailed; he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood”, the verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted, “You look to it yourselves.” The whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Therefore, he handed him over to them and they took Jesus, to be crucified.

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