15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ 3Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 4Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ 5But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
6 Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. 7Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. 8So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. 9Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 10For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ 13They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ 14Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ 15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
"New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
As is usual, Mark provides the basic structure for this scene, which will be followed by Matthew and Luke with variations. Pilate hears Jesus accused of unspecified charges, and asks him if he is “king of the Jews.” Jesus does not answer him.
A crowd of indefinite size comes to Pilate, asking him to release a prisoner as an act of Passover clemency. Pilate offers to release “the king of the Jews,” but the chief priests prompt the crowd to ask for the murderer Barabbas instead. Pilate yields to their insistent call for Jesus to be crucified. By contrasting the fate of Jesus with that of the murderer Barabbas, Mark conveys how gross an injustice is being done. As throughout Mark’s passion narrative, not a single voice is heard in Jesus’ defense. Jesus seems to be a powerless victim, perhaps reflecting the recent experiences of the Marcan church.