The scene becomes more horrifying. If this were a fictional play, book or film we would be expecting some kind of rescue. Pilate at first seems to be interested, listening, magnanimous. The we read the first verse of chapter nineteen and recognise that this can only go one direction, this wasn't a punishment from which the prisoner end up being released alive, it is aimed at causing the most pain and humiliation before they are sent to die.
The Jews: The right to carry out the death penalty had been taken away from them and now it is only the Governor-in this case, Pontius Pilate- who had the authority. We do know, however, that sometimes they took the law into their own hands; for example, in the case of Stephen (Acts 7). The Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus with a passion, but whilst having a man killed, they could still be prissy about regulations in the religious Law!
Pilate: it is clear here that Pilate saw through the charges the religious leaders had brought against Jesus. He did try to refuse to deal with the case; then he tried to release Jesus, but he was such a weak individual that he refused to stand against the religious leaders even though he had the authority and the power to do this. The Jews had power over Pilate: his record in Palestine was not good and they threatened to report him to Caesar if he didn't agree to do what they wanted. And really, Pilate wasn't that bothered. He was corrupt to the point that he could no longer distinguish between truth and lies. The Saviour of the world stood before him and he couldn't care to defend Him!
Are you determined to keep your conscience clean? Do you look after your conscience and listen to it? Push comes to shove, are you prepared to stand with Jesus as a Truth-teller?