Luke 23:6-25 Judgment.
The Jewish leadership went to the Roman authorities, and now Pilate passes Jesus’ case to Herod in an argument of jurisdiction (vv. 6-7). Herod, for his part, was glad to see Jesus, but only because he wanted to see Him perform a miracle (v. 8). Perhaps it was this motivation of Herod which led Jesus to refuse to answer his questions (v. 9). We also know that “the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him” (v. 10). There is no one to stand in Jesus’ defence, and Herod eventually accepts the accusations, the proof of which we see in his troops mocking Jesus and treating Him with contempt (v. 11 Cf. Is. 53:3). However, Herod and Pilate both agreed that there was nothing deserving of death (vv. 12-15 Cf. 3:1; Acts 4:27).
So when Jesus is returned to Pilate, because he and Herod were in agreement that there was nothing deserving of death according to Roman law, he thinks he can use the opportunity of the release of a prisoner during the Passover, that the can release Jesus. His hope was to satisfy his own judgment and also to appease the Jewish population (vv. 16-17). Instead, they ask for Barabbas, a man who was guilty of some of the things which they accused Jesus of, namely in leading a rebellion, a man who was in fact a murderer (vv. 18-19 Cf. Acts 3:13-15). Ironically, the name Barabbas means ‘son of the father’. However, the apostate Jewish people, led by their rulers and chief priests, will settle for nothing less than for Jesus to be crucified (vv. 20-21).
Luke makes the point that they were asked three times what capital crime Jesus had committed that would justify their call for His crucifixion (v. 22 Cf. Mk. 15:15). This certainly fulfills the biblical requirement for witness bearing for a capital judgment, but the witness bearing in this case was false (Cf. Dt. 19:15; II Cor. 13:1). Nevertheless, in the end the final decision was Pilate’s and he accepted the judgment of the crowd, condemning Jesus to death, and releasing a murderer instead. In effect, Jesus took Barabbas’ place, and in this case Barabbas symbolizes all those who have been redeemed by Christ, though we all were deserving of death. For the transgression of His people He was stricken (Cf. Is. 53:8). It is only through the cross that any are made true sons of the Father.