Matthew 27:26

ESV Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
NIV Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
NASB Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
CSB Then he released Barabbas to them and, after having Jesus flogged, handed him over to be crucified.
NLT 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.
KJV Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

What does Matthew 27:26 mean?

The Jewish religious leaders, and the crowds they incited to call for Jesus' death, have seemingly won (Matthew 27:11–25). Pilate, against clear evidence, his own judgment, and even his wife's dream (Matthew 27:19), has calmed the frenzied crowd by giving the order to release a convicted murderer (Mark 15:7), Barabbas, and for Jesus to be crucified.

Jesus had already been scourged, as noted by John, in another failed effort to play on the crowd's sympathy (John 19:1–5). This was a form of torture itself. Jewish law often considered 40 lashes to be the equivalent of beating someone to death (2 Corinthians 11:24), using a standard whip. The Romans had no stroke limit. The person being punished would be stripped and tied to a post. They would then be beaten by a professional, trained soldier, using a flagrum: a multiheaded leather whip braided with weights, bones, metal, hooks, or glass. Aggressive use of a scourge could strip flesh from bone and expose organs. Some scourging victims died from injuries, others from resulting infections. Flogging was sometimes used before crucifixion to weaken the victim but was more often a dire punishment needing no other measures.

Despite the brutality and unfairness, it's important to remember that God's plan is succeeding through all of this (Matthew 16:21; 26:39). The Father sent the Son to the earth to suffer and die as the sacrifice for the sins of humanity (Philippians 2:8). Jesus is quickly moving toward that step, and soon after to resurrection from the dead (John 2:19–22).
What is the Gospel?
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