Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and see, I have examined him before you, and found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.”
Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast. But they all cried out together, saying, “Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!”— one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.
Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus, but they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
As we read here, Pilate is trying pretty hard to get Jesus released, but like many political leaders he really isn’t doing what the job actually requires. As Jesus told the disciples earlier in Luke, leadership is a job for a person who makes himself a servant. It isn’t really supposed to be an opportunity to protect your own power and position and as we see here, this was one of those times to stand up and protect the weak.
It appears that Pilate knew that Jesus didn’t deserve any punishment, but he offered the Jewish leaders the option to have Jesus beat and released. This may be considered by some to be a “compromise,” but in reality, it was a plain case of injustice in order to appease a crowd.
Leaders need to stand up for the law and for the poor and weak. The poor and weak have no other voice, and this is what God expects from leaders in their position. Jesus knows what it feels like to fail to receive justice and someday He is going to be the one dealing out justice. We can trust in Him because He knows what it is like and is committed to bring justice to the poor and the weak.