Mark 15:1-15 Jesus Before Pilate
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 30, 2013
Mark 15:1-15 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law–the entire high council–met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (2) Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” (3) Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, (4) and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” (5) But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise. (6) Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner–anyone the people requested. (7) One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising. (8) The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual. (9) “Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews‘?”Pilate asked. (10) (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.) (11) But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. (12) Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” (13) They shouted back, “Crucify him!” (14) “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” (15) So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Caiaphas also prepared a special set of chains for Jesus to wear complete with a collar around His neck attached to a long chain. Shackles around His hands featured a long chain extending past His feet specially designed to drag along the ground as Jesus walked. Caiaphas wanted to ensure the chains did not go unnoticed. The specially built chains were highly polished to attract attention shining as they reflect light. The extra length call audible attention to the bound prisoner as they dragged across the ground. Caiaphas’ intended effect was to preset a physical and audible picture of a condemned prisoner.
After a short wait, Peter once again followed Jesus at a distance. Once again he had no idea where he was headed. Peter followed far behind the high priest, followed by a contingency of priests and other religious leaders, behind them guards pulling and pushing Jesus along the road. From the top of a hill Peter stood watching the procession as the sun rose behind him. Peter prayed, not only for Jesus, but to understand what was happening and why.
Once they arrived, Caiaphas and the priests stopped at the gate of Pilate’s courtyard while sending the guards ahead with Jesus. Pilate was not pleased when his servants woke him so early. He slowly dressed wondering what Caiaphas was up to now. Yesterday was a long day and this was Pilate’s last chance to get any rest before the festival. The entire week was trying enough with all the people coming to Jerusalem for the Passover. It didn’t matter what it was, Pilate was not going to make it easy for Caiaphas. When Pilate was ready, he made his appearance.
It didn’t surprise Pilate to see Caiaphas and his priests standing outside the court. He knew why, but wasn’t going to give into Jewish tradition. As Pilate took his seat, he demanded Caiaphas step forward. Of course Caiaphas refused, once again explaining the circumstances. Pilate looked at Jesus standing in front of him. Pilate knew who Jesus was and what He preached. Pilate did not consider Jesus a threat, although he knew Jesus’ ministry was one of the reasons he was forced to stretch his forces thin. Pilate stared out at Caiaphas, wishing he was the one in chains in front of him.
Pilate knew why they brought Jesus to him. He wondered why they had beaten the man so badly. If it was anyone else, Pilate would bring charges against them for taking the law into their own hands. The crowd outside the gate was growing. Pilate determined to get this over with before it grew into something he would regret dealing with. Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” Pilate had no idea why he asked such a direct question. At first it seemed like a way to antagonize Caiaphas. He didn’t expect such a pointed answer. At least his question achieved part of Pilate’s goal, the priests were not pleased. Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.
In a way Peter was relieved to see such a large crowd. It gave him the opportunity to blend in unnoticed. Peter could not believe the scene in front of him. Why did the priests arrest Jesus? How did Jesus threaten them? Peter began to think of some of Jesus’ discussions with the priests. For some reason their comments about Jesus’ family stuck on his mind. He remember when Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” (Mark 6:4 NLTse). At the time Peter didn’t think much about what Jesus said until now. He thought it was strange this would come to mind. Then he remembered how Jesus always referred to scripture. But which one? Then one came to mind. Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you. They plot and raise complaints against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak. (Jeremiah 12:6 NLTse).
Peter never saw the connection before, but there must be more. Peter remembered Jesus taught them to always look back. So he looked back a few verses. LORD, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts. But as for me, LORD, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered! (Jeremiah 12:1-3 NLTse).
This stunned Peter for a moment. He was never very good at remembering texts, but somehow it all came to him. Why at such a time as this? It is like Jeremiah was describing the scene in front of his eyes. How could that be? Peter’s concentration was interrupted by shouts from the crowd. Looking around at the crowd Peter saw some of the other disciples in the crowd. He hoped he would go unnoticed. The last thing Peter wanted was anyone asking him questions. He had to admit he didn’t have any answers because he didn’t pay attention to Jesus when he had the chance. Looking up at Jesus, Peter remembered how he denied Him. Not only a few hours ago, but during His entire ministry.
Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner–anyone the people requested. One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising. Peter could see the crowd stirring. The priests were walking though the crowd talking to groups. The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual. Pilate didn’t expect this, but then this was another tradition the Jews honored. The last thing Pilate wanted to do was create a scene by interfering with tradition, not with all the extra people in Jerusalem at the time. “Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews‘?” Pilate asked. (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
This was the second time Pilate referred to Jesus as the King of the Jews, and it infuriated Caiaphas more than the first time. Jesus became a pawn in the epic battle between Caiaphas and Pilate. A battle Caiaphas was set on winning. He had to get his way. His reputation was at stake. Caiaphas dispatched priests throughout the crowd with orders. At this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. Pilate looked at Jesus standing in front of him, wondering why this man stood there without defending Himself. He wasn’t at all like the other prisoners who stood before him pleading, making promises, denying charges, doing everything to save their lives. Pilate watched as Jesus hung His head low, like He knew what to expect, and the outcome was not going to be pleasant. Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Peter stood stunned as he listened to Pilate announce the sentence Jesus had to face. He remembered the first time Jesus tried to tell them about His death. Peter remembered he told Jesus he would never allow such a terrible thing happen to Him. Here he was, the scene unfolding before his eyes, and he was helpless. There was nothing Peter could do. He wished his life was over. He slept in the garden when Jesus needed him most. Peter thought of how he failed as a leader, disciple, and friend. How could he face any of his friends knowing he let Jesus down in so many ways. To think, Jesus’ last memory of him was how he denied Him in Caiaphas’ courtyard. Peter covered his face to hide the tears and shame.
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