Lord, thank You for standing firm for us.
Read Mark 15:1–15
Jesus Before Pilate
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.
2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
New International Version (NIV)
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Give thanks that the justice of God is always right and reliable.
The Romans prided themselves as carriers of peace and justice to the world (see, for example, Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 6 ). The appearance of Jesus before Pilate does not necessarily owe to Roman jurisprudence. Jesus is being denounced by popular voice rather than legal niceties. As we move from Sanhedrin to Roman Procurator, the charge against Jesus transitions from religious to political, and the underlying assertion is that Jesus claims to be the king of Israel. The theme of kingship will dominate the rest of the narrative. Jesus’ response to Pilate’s questioning implies that the title King of the Jews has a different meaning for Him than for Pilate (cf. John 19:33–37).
After that, Jesus is silent. Throughout this narrative we see allusions to Isaiah 53:7 and Pilate’s overall reticence may reflect Isaiah 52:15.Scripture is being fulfilled. Jesus is offered as an alternative to a convicted rebel for release. Two types of leadership are contrasted: the silent innocence of Jesus and the violent rebellion of Barabbas. The crowd makes its choice. The way of peace is rejected (cf. Luke 19:42–44), and ratified by the Roman Procurator. The path toward the destruction of the temple in AD 70 has been set. The true king is condemned. Rome’s domination has been preferred. Bad choices always have bad consequences.
Thus, the path to the cross is in place. No Jewish stoning of a blasphemer can be expected, but rather the Roman crucifixion of a provincial rebel. Jesus has humbled Himself to become a servant and is receiving the punishment reserved for a criminal (Phil 2:7,8). The degradation of the cross becomes both His throne and the countercultural message of salvation that will eventually bring even the Roman Emperor to confess him as Lord Pilate questions the crowd. They choose Barabbas and Jesus is led away. But we proclaim Christ crucified for our salvation.
Thank Jesus for His love that made Him suffer for us.
Lord, the love that You have for us defies description. We read of what You went through for us. Thank You for providing for our salvation.