Lord, this is a holy week and reading Your Word won’t always be pleasant, but I pray for insight and truth.
Read Mark 15:1-15
 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.  “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  The chief priests accused him of many things.  So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.  Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested.  A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.  The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.  “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,  knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.  “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.  “Crucify him!” they shouted.  “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”  Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy did Pilate give Jesus over when he was innocent?
The Sanhedrin made their plans (1). They had little official power, but they had power over the people, powers of persuasion and the power of the religious law. The Romans had official power, but counted on the religious authorities to keep the peace. Pilate needed their cooperation; since a crowd could mean a riot, he took great care. If he wanted to, Jesus could control the crowd with a word or a look. He had spoken to thousands and kept them listening for days. This time, however, he chose not to. Jesus affirmed Pilate’s question, foretelling the words to be inscribed on the cross, and that is all. He chose not to answer the accusations against him (5). It was not a fair trial, and he did not treat it as such. Instead, he submitted to the will of the Father. The Sanhedrin stirred up the crowd (11), using their people like puppets to deliver the verdict of crucifixion. But the Lord had plans above and beyond these, and as Jesus submitted willingly to the plans of the Father, he put in motion a plan to bless and save God’s people.
What part does God play in your plans? Prayerfully submit your plans to him. Seek his guidance as you make them.
Lord, Your ways are always the best. Guide me, I pray, so that I can make plans that follow them.
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