Mark 15:1-20 NIV
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.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
What insights into the character of Pilate and Jesus does this story offer?
Pilate was a people pleaser. He perceived in his heart that You were innocent and that the priests wanted power and authority over the people. Pilate did everything he could think of to release You without going against the angry crowd. He was afraid of the crowd; he was afraid of You. He had You scourged as a way to sway the crowd with sympathy to save you from the cross. He was looking for anything You would say to help him set You free without inciting a riot. Pilate was a coward, and he was afraid to make the decision on the basis of justice. You, Jesus, are a God-pleaser. You stood strong to do God’s will even at the risk of Your own suffering and death. If You had replied to Pilate in any way, the governor would have used Your words to dismiss the charge and free You immediately but God’s will would not have been done. Your silence effectively exposed the true enmity of these priests. It effectively stripped away all their disguise, and they had to come out and openly reveal that what was eating them was nothing more than the jealousy of their own hearts. As You remained silent before these priests, the hatred in their hearts against You was exposed. The leaders in today’s society are much the same as Pilate and those priests. We have leaders with an insatiable thirst for power and authority over the people. They generate angry crowds who blindly follow their lies and dishonesty. There are other leaders who know what is right but are afraid of the crowds so they succumb to its pressures. They try to destroy any leader who does stand up to honesty and righteousness. In Your silence, You are exposing the hatred in their hearts. You are exposing evil today. Lord help me to not be a people pleaser. Let me stand strong for what is right even if it means I will suffer as a result. You allowed evil to play out in order for You to conquer sin and death for all people for all time. In a similar way, You are allowing evil to play out today in order to show Your glory throughout the world. You have a plan to overcome the evil. Keep me from trying to please the mob and acting out of fear like Pilate. Raise up leaders who are not afraid of the crowd but stand strong to do Your will. Keep me from blindly following evil as part of the crowd. Allow today’s crowd to recognize evil. I pray for Your strength to stand up for righteousness. Let me be a God-pleaser. Lord I trust in Your plan and I ask for Your courage to follow Your will, not man’s. Thank you, Lord! Amen