Now it was Pilate’s custom at festival-time to release a prisoner—anyone they asked for. There was in the prison at the time, with some other rioters who had committed murder in a recent outbreak, a man called Barabbas. The crowd surged forward and began to demand that Pilate should do what he usually did for them. So he spoke to them, “Do you want me to set free the king of the Jews for you?”
It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?” Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him.
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