But all together they shouted out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us." (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) (Luke 23:13-19)
Pilate says (again) that Jesus is innocent and that Herod agrees. He offers to have Jesus flogged (despite his innocence) and released. "Flogging" was a disciplinary beating. "Scourging" was part of killing a victim slated for crucifixion. That will come later, when Jesus has been condemned to die. the proposed flogging is part of Pilate's plea bargaining.
Suddenly Barabbas is brought into the act - a prisoner who had been imprisoned for murder. All four Gospels have the crowd choose him to be freed rather than Jesus.
Why is there such a turnaround on this kindly person named Jesus? It happens. Public opinion can be affected by polls, knee-jerk reactions, a certain mob psychology.
There's a little bit of that "crowd" in all of us.
- Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw