MUSINGS – December 09, 2018


Mark 15:1-14
Early in the morning the chief priests immediately came to a decision with the leaders and the scribes. The whole Jewish council decided to tie Jesus up, lead him away, and hand him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, I am,” Jesus answered him. The chief priests were accusing him of many things. So Pilate asked him again, “Don’t you have any answer? Look how many accusations they’re bringing against you!” But Jesus no longer answered anything, so Pilate was surprised. At every Passover festival, Pilate would free one prisoner whom the people asked for. There was a man named Barabbas in prison. He was with some rebels who had committed murder during a riot. The crowd asked Pilate to do for them what he always did. Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to free the king of the Jews for you?” Pilate knew that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous. The chief priests stirred up the crowd so that Pilate would free Barabbas for them instead. So Pilate again asked them, “Then what should I do with the king of the Jews?” “Crucify him!” they shouted back. Pilate said to them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”

The Jews were a conquered nation and we’re not allowed by Rome to use capital punishment. Do even though the Jewish Council had convicted Jesus if blasphemy, which was punishable by death, they could not carry out the execution. That is why they took him to Pontius Pilate who was the Roman governor of Judaea.

Pilate gave the Council and the Jewish people a choice, he would release one prisoner at their request. Who did they want released? They chose a murderer named Barabbas. He then asked the mob what he should do with Jesus. They responded crucify him. They didn’t say exicute him. They wanted him crucified.

Crucifixion was s punishment considered especially humiliating by the Romans reserved in general for slaves and highway robbers. Had the Sanhedrin and the crowd not demanded crucifixion, Jesus, under Roman law, would have most likely have been stoned to death, which would have been less humiliating and quicker.

So great was their hate for Jesus that they chose the cruelest death possible. And in this act the complete what Isaiah predicted hundreds of years earlier. (53:7-8)
He was abused and punished, but he didn’t open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was like a sheep that is silent when its wool is cut off. He didn’t open his mouth. He was arrested, taken away, and judged. Who would have thought that he would be removed from the world? He was killed because of my people’s rebellion.

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All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

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