During the Jewish Passover there was a tradition that a prisoner was allowed to go free. Pilate, the governor asked the Jewish people if he should let a known criminal, Barabbas go free or Jesus. The Jews adamately insisted to set Barabbas free. Jesus was then led to the cross. On the way, the soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him as a king.
The symbolism of releasing a known criminal in place of Jesus who was sinless represents the timeless truth that Jesus died for all humanity in our sinful state.
26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. 27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.