1. Before Pilate sent Our Lord to Herod, he had already sought to take occasion to release Him, from the custom of setting free at the Pasch some notable prisoner. In order to secure success, he had proposed as an alternative a noted murderer named Barabbas. To his astonishment, the name of Barabbas had at once been taken up by the multitude. It was not that they loved Barabbas, but they hated Christ. So wretched men now choose what they know is evil simply because they hate God. They cannot bear the idea of submission. They long to get God out of the way, as the Jews desired to be rid of Christ.
2. The multitude shouted for Barabbas because the chief priests urged them to it. It was the rulers, the ancients, who were the real murderers of Christ; the ignorant mob did but follow their leaders. What a responsibility it is to be in a position of authority! What an account those who rule will have to give of those subject to them!
3. When Christ returned from the palace of Herod clad in the fool’s garment, Pilate made one more attempt to get Him released. It was a fresh compromise with his conscience, and, like all such compromises, only brought fresh insults on the Son of God. Again the shout rose for Barabbas to be set free, and Christ to be crucified. O Pilate! why not listen to the whisper within you, and set the just man free at any risk? My God, save me from cowardly compromises and dallying with conscience.
Source: Clarke, R. F. (1889). The Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations for Every Day in Lent (p. 34). Benziger Brothers.