Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
Now a choice is offered – a prisoner will be released. Jesus of Nazareth, the one falsely accused of treason or Barabbas, a man accused and convicted of treason – and he murdered to do it.
If they choose the latter, their loyalties to the empire will be exposed for what they are: a sham. They will be exposed as criminal in their own right.
But the Governor will only release one prisoner.
This is precisely the summary of humankind:
Jesus – Son of God or Barabbas – who’s name means “son of a [human] father.” Humanity or Divinity? The King or the prisoner? Good or evil?
To the crowd, the choice is external – this man or that man. But it’s much more an internal choice then they realize. This question is a test of their character.
This is a people in desperate need of forgiveness.