Sunday, October 10, 2021
11-12 But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas. Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?”
13 They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”
14 Pilate objected, “But for what crime?”
But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”
15 Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free, and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.
-Mark 15:11-15 The Message
Verse 11: The chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead.
Verse 12: And responding again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
Verse 13: They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”
Verse 13 study: Crucifixion is punishment for rebellion. Those slaves who were not Roman citizens could be crucified. If Jesus died by crucifixion, he would die a death of a rebel and slave, not as he claimed as a king. The Jewish religious leaders wanted that so they could whip up the mob into a frenzy. Crucifixion is the responsibility of killing Jesus on the Romans, and the crowds can’t blame the religious leaders.
Verse 14: But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!”
Verse 15: Intent on satisfying the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Verses 14-15 studies: Everyone has some fault of Jesus’ death. The disciples deserted him. The crowd that followed him didn’t do anything to help. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied he didn’t know Jesus. But Pilate tried to blame the crowds and the leader was active to promote Jesus’ death. The Roman soldiers tortured him. Have you ever thought about how you respond to those actions, the trial, crucifixion?
Verse 15 study: Pilate was given a small army because the region of Judea where Pilate ruled as governor was too far from Rome. His primary responsibility was to keep the peace. History showed that Pilate had been warned about the uprising in his region. He didn’t see any guilt in Jesus and no reason to condemn him to death. Pilate started to worry when the Jews threatened to report him to Caesar (John 19:12). That being reported as an issue, such as a riot, would cost him his job and possible advancement. According to the law, Jesus was innocent. Pilate caved under political pressure. He left behind what he knew was right. He tried to second-guess the Jewish leaders. Pilate made a decision that pleased everyone, so he was safe and could take the easy way out. When you do what Pilate did right or wrong, making decisions based on our audience, we fall into compromise and lawlessness. God promises to honor those who do right by him and not those who make everyone happy.
Father, we see a lot of Pilates in the government today. Either doing things for themselves or doing wrong to please people. Let us be reminded that people-pleasing is not precisely in God’s plans and that we can speak up when something is wrong. In Jesus’ name. Amen!