"But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" (John 18:39). Read John 18:38-40.
Pilate won't listen to Jesus; he is too busy trying to work this out himself. How can he force the Jewish authorities to accept his decision to set Jesus free? Maybe one of the local customs might do the trick. It was implemented to improve Roman-Jewish relations. At the Passover feast, the Roman governors released a prisoner the Jewish crowds requested. Normally it was a popular person who had been imprisoned for speaking against the Roman government. This time Pilate would offer the choice between Jesus and the most dangerous criminal in the prison: Barabbas.
This was a stroke of genius! Jesus offered no true threat to public safety and clearly Barabbas was as dangerous to the Jewish leaders as he was to the Romans. But Pilate misjudges the Jewish leaders, who are convinced Jesus is a much greater threat to them and to the Jewish nation than Barabbas.
When the leaders convince the crowd to demanded Barabbas' release and crucify Jesus, Pilate finds himself in a far worse position than if he had simply set Jesus free and lived with the consequences.
Whenever we shun the responsibilities God gives us-to speak up for those who are defenseless, to bring up our children in the fear and knowledge of God or those in any other area of life-we are just like Pontius Pilate.
Jesus didn't step away from His responsibility but freely took the punishment of our sins upon Himself.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for paying the price for all the times I walk away from the responsibilities You give me. Give me courage and commitment to step forward and do what You want me to do. Amen.