Mark 15:1-15 NASB
¹Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.
²Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “It is as you say.”
³The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly.
⁴Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!”
⁵But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.
⁶Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested.
⁷The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection.
⁸The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them.
⁹Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”
¹⁰For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
¹¹But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead.
¹²Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
¹³They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”
¹⁴But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!”
¹⁵Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Jesus, who only did good, was rejected.
“Then what do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” (Mark 15:12).
We are all facing that question from the Roman Pilate. We all have a great responsibility to give the right answer. We have to choose!
When Jesus was brought to Pilate, an indictment was, of course, handed over. It apparently stated that Jesus pretended to be a king. When Pilate sees Jesus, he can hardly believe it. Hence his astonished question: Are You the King of the Jews? (Mark 15:2).
▪︎ Jesus does not say now: Yes, I am (Cf. Mark 14:61,62).
▪︎ But He does not deny it either (Mark 15:26).
After all, he is King, but in a different way than Pilate intended (Compare John 18:36,37; See also 1 Timothy 6:13).
Pilate hesitates. That is why the chief priests bring new charges against Jesus (Mark 15:3; see Luke 23:2). Because in any case Jesus has to go. Of course Jesus does not go into those talks (Mark 15:4,5). Pilate will have to judge. He has to make a choice. That is his responsibility.
It takes too long for a delegation from the people.
They want to raise another matter. They demand the release of a prisoner, as usual at Easter (Mark 15:6,8).
In this Pilate sees an opportunity to get rid of Jesus. A notorious criminal is in prison, a danger to society (Mark 15:7; Matthew 27:16).
If he puts him next to Jesus, one will certainly not choose the criminal.
Jesus or a criminal, that’s the choice. How bad that they choose the murderer!
The King of Life must die (Mark 15:14; Acts 3:13-15).
Barabbas, the murderer, is released.
The cross that may have been ready for him will now be occupied by another – Jesus.
Here something of the Gospel of the substitution becomes visible: Another carries the judgment we have earned (Isaiah 53:5,6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21).
But predominant in this section is the great responsibility that we humans are faced with. In blind hatred, Jesus is rejected. Pilate insisted on asking, “What harm has He actually done?” (Mark 15:14).
There is no answer to that question.
Jesus has only done good.
There is every reason to choose Him.
And yet He is rejected.
What are we doing?
Question for self-reflection
▪︎ How do you choose? (Compare John 12:37-43)
▪︎ Thank God that the Lord Jesus was rejected in your place.
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