Daily Bible Reading – 3.29.2021

Rev. Ben Lovell   -  
Daily Bible Reading – 3.29.2021:
Mark 15:1-15 (NIV) – 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.
Pastor Doug’s Comments:
Much has happened in a few short hours. The Jewish Ruling Council has found Jesus guilty of blasphemy. Since they were seeking the death penalty, they had to involve the Roman government so they took him to Pilate, the governor of Judea, to hear their case.
Pilate asked if he were the king of the Jews. Jesus, in effect, replied indirectly that Pilate had said so though He was not king in the manner in which Pilate understood kingship. To get the death penalty, they brought forth many false charges, but Jesus refused to defend himself against their unjust process. Pilate even encouraged him to present a defense but was amazed at his refusal in light of the intensity of the prosecution team.
Annually, it had become the custom to release a Jewish prisoner at the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pilate asked if they wanted King Jesus released because he could see through the false charges in which it was out of petty selfish motives they had brought Jesus before him.
Showing the power of how leaders can whip a crowd into a frenzy, the chief priests influenced them to demand Barabbas to be released. He had committed murder in an uprising against the government. They chose a murderer to be set free over the innocent Son of God.
Were those in the crowd some of the same people who had joyously welcomed Jesus into town five days before? If so, how could they turn on Jesus so quickly? We have just seen how it happened with the disciples, so it should not surprise us. Maybe, we have seen it within ourselves as well.
The charge that Jesus was king of the Jews was meant to create the impending and severe threat that he was a rival to Roman authority. A guilty verdict could only have one outcome. Crucifixion. And yet Pilate still did not buy it. He asked again what his actual crime was, but they only shouted louder for him to be crucified. Shouting overtook truth.
Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and yet he wanted to please the crowd so he released Barabbas, had Jesus flogged (such a short description of such a brutal beating), and turned him over to be executed. All three parties—Pilate, the people, and the Jewish leaders—were complicit in Jesus’ death.
Even though Pilate saw through the lies, he turned out to be nothing more than a people-pleaser. He is the poster child for what happens when you choose to please others rather than choosing truth and justice. As we have seen over and over, the Jewish leaders were filled with pride and jealousy which burst forth in vitriolic murderous anger. The people were easily manipulated by the leaders’ emotional frenzy spewing lies turning them against Jesus.
Questions To Consider/Discuss:
And there is us. In spite of the vast difference of time and distance, what role did we play in Jesus’ death?