Devotional # 39. 6/24/13. Jesus’ Final Trials and Verdict Pronounced.
This week’s Reading: Mark 15:1- 15
Introduction. Last week we read about Jesus’ first trial with the Sanhedrin when they couldn’t get the accusations to agree. We also discussed Peter’s denial of knowing or having anything to do with Jesus.
vv. 1-2. Now the Sanhedrin “officially” meets after an all night “illegal” meeting. They have pronounced sentence on Jesus but have to turn Him over to the Romans. Pilate is the Roman governor of Judea who was in Jerusalem for the Passover (not to celebrate but to handle the craziness that always happened, such as the trial of Jesus). So the Jews demand that Jesus receive the death penalty (John 18:30) but Pilate disagrees. Read Luke 23:1-2. Notice the only charge Pilate cares about is if Jesus was a king, because then He would think He was equal to Caesar.
vv. 3-5. As the Jews, getting angrier and angrier, hurl insults and false charges at Him, Pilate wants Jesus to defend Himself but He doesn’t. Pilate was amazed at the self-control Jesus, who was obviously innocent, had to not retaliate with words or defensive movements. He knew He had to go through these things so He could die for our sins.
HERE read Luke 23:5-12. Mark leaves out that Jesus went for trial #3 with Herod but ends up coming back to Pilate.
vv. 6-8. Each year at this time Pilate would release a prisoner to show his mercy and please the people. The crowd demanded that he do this now.
vv. 9-10. Pilate knew that the religious leaders were just jealous of Jesus so he suggested that he release Jesus.
v. 11. The religious leaders stirred the group of people up and had them call out to release a man named Barabbas. Barabbas had been involved in a revolt where some people had been killed. He is usually portrayed as a really bad guy and although he was a robber (John 18:40) and murderer (Luke 23:18, 19) this may have been fighting the Romans for righteous reasons. Simon the Zealot (one of the disciples) was associated with a political activist group like this. It is interesting to see how Jesus’ ministry changed Simon’s life and I wonder how Barabbas viewed Jesus once He was substituted for him.
vv. 12-14. When Pilate asks what he should do with innocent Jesus the religious leaders keep stirring up the crowd to yell “crucify Him!” I’ve often heard in churches that it was the same people that a week prior had called Him “Savior” and yelled out “Hosanna” who were now saying to kill Him. This is possible but it makes more sense that the religious leaders had paid or coerced some people to come out and cry out against Him. So Pilate, although a Gentile, represents a voice of reason and morality to this trial.
v. 15. But although Pilate seems moral he is human and part of God’s plan. Jesus had to die. So Pilate doesn’t want to make the crowd mad and have them attack him so he pronounces condemnation on an innocent man. Jesus is led away while Barabbas goes free. This was the first act of sacrifice where Jesus gave His life for another’s on His way to the cross.
Conclusion. Jesus could have saved Himself, He could have commanded angels to save Him, He could have escaped, He could have given the perfect defense and gotten Himself out of the trials. But He didn’t. It was His desire to see us saved that kept Him there. We nailed Him to the cross but His loved kept Him there.