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> The aim was surely to warn everyone who heard about these things  that Rome would not tolerate the emergence of any king in Israel.  Pilate was trying to de-escalate the situation. Barabbas, released, might go on to make more trouble, but if the enthusiasts for revolt could, as a group, be demoralized, that trouble would be relatively minor.

 The thought just occurred that Pilate’s timing of the scheduled crucifixion of Barabbas and the two lestes (who may have been his accomplices in the recent statis) might be significant. They were to be crucified immediately before Passover, the annual remembrance of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt.

  This strikes me as a highly provocative thing to do, and suggestive of a 1st century ‘psychological operation.’ Perhaps the purpose of the timing was to remind Israel that Rome was powerful enough to keep Israel subjugated, and that everyone who attempted to assert Israel’s independence by violent means would meet this end. IOW, the purpose was to demoralize the war party in Israel.

Crucifying Israel’s widely acclaimed king (who, in the view of the people, had given abundant and convincing evidence of having power and authority from YHWH) would be even more effective, and in the context of the Passover remembrance, even more demoralizing. The gods of Rome are more powerful than the god of Israel. “The Powers” are more powerful than YHWH.

 That this was actually a victory over those “Powers” can be understood if the Cross delayed Rome’s and their triumph over Israel.

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