In A.D. 26, Pontius Pilate was appointed as procurator of Judea. Philo describes Pilate as a harsh, spiteful and brutal man. Jesus, after being found guilty by the Sanhedrin, was led to Pilate. Luke records the charges as sedition and declaring Himself to be a king: “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King” (23:2). However, when Pilate had completed his examination of Jesus, he concluded, “I find no fault in this man” (23:4). Pilate sent Him to Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee. Jesus would not speak before Herod, and thus was sent to Pilate again where he concluded, “I find no fault in this man.”
Pilate was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to the people each year at the time of the feast. He sat on the judgment seat, and asked the people, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” The people continued to ask for Jesus’ death. Pilate got nowhere with the crowd and a tumult was rising, so he “took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Pilate, knowing that He was a “just man” sent Him to the cross anyway.
If Pilate had judged rightly, he would have released Jesus, but he allowed the crowd to sway his decision. Even back in the days of Joshua and Caleb, majorities proved themselves dangerous (Numbers 14:26-38)! It is God’s will we must follow, not the crowd!