But the high priests stirred up the crowd so that instead he might set free for them Barabbas. But Pilate, responding, stated again to them, “Then what do you wish I may do with the man you state as ‘the King of the Jews’?”
The “crowd” comprised the high priests and other senior, notable and learned folk plus those understandably obedient to them.
But they shouted again, “Crucify him.” But Pilate stated to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted exceedingly, “Crucify him.” But Pilate, wanting to do enough for the crowd, set free for them Barabbas, and, having scourged Jesus, he gave him over so that he might be crucified.
Pilate’s plan fails because the “crowd” (comprised as above) is motivated by “envy”. What motivates Pilate? Historians have established that Pilate’s standing in Rome was under threat. Was it self-interest? But why “scourge Jesus”? Did he do that to mislead – to show that he was not a crowd-pleaser?
But the soldiers led him away inside the courtyard (that is, a praitorium), and they call together the whole battalion. And they dress him in a purple cloth and, twisting together a thorny crown, they surround him. And they began to welcome him, “Rejoice! King of the Jews!”
Jesus is now “inside the courtyard” of Pilate. Mark, his biographer, adds that this interior courtyard “is a praitorium” – a domain of real practical, life-and-death judgment and power. Interestingly, those in authority in this courtyard are (as it were) ordinary people – ordinary foot-soldiers. Here they are, in effect, democratic decision-makers. Now that they are alone with Jesus they vote unanimously in favour of mockery. Like today.