Mark – God is On Our Side!
We are so easily distracted by the busyness of life. Our jobs demand more of our time. Our kids and/or grandkids demand and need our care and attention even more. Family problems manifest in ways that knock us off center and we don’t know what to do or where to go for help. The government demands more from us by raising taxes we were struggling to pay before the increase. Debt is rising due to life stuff or making bad financial decisions so we take on more hours at work, away from our families to pay what we owe. In all of this, we neglect and give up the greatest relationship for the current crisis at hand.
Reading and meditation on God’s Word begins to be less and less of a habit. Talking to God takes a back seat to talking to everyone else who has an opinion about life and how life works. Our relationship with God through Jesus, our Savior is mocked by new priorities in our life. What once was a beautiful, trusting, loving relationship with Jesus is now a faint memory. We are doing life on our own more and more. We read “self-help” books or turn to Facebook to solve our loneliness and brokenness by telling the world who does not care about our troubles and pain because of the weight of their own problems. We become more confused in life’s struggles and wonder why. Anger at small stuff becomes a habit. We might even entertain panic attacks as a way of life. We’ve lost something or someone and wonder what happened.
In our passage today, Mark writes about God’s religious who are out of touch, out of relationship with Him, out of control, and out of focus on God. The leaders are all about self preservation. The leaders have lost contact with God for so long that they only recognize self. Self leads to envy of the One who has been sent to save them. They are now “out’ to punish God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, promised Messiah.
Pilot, not a follower, is confused by their envy for their fellow Jew who has done nothing wrong. His question, important and relevant then, is staggering to us now. In the middle of all that we are going through in this life we must ask ourselves this same question.
“What should I do with this man…”?
This man is Jesus Christ, the One who loves us so much He stood and took our sins upon himself. This man, the Son of God, silently took the mocking, spitting in His face, the whips of metal tearing at His back, the betrayal of His own who were scared and by Judas who wanted more power…for us. ALL of us.
We have to ask, do we mock Jesus still in our busyness of this life? Do we tear at His heart still when we ignore our relationship by not talking to Him? Do we betray Him in our people groups at work or in our families when we don’t stand for Truth? Do we spit in the face of His Word (who became flesh) by avoiding what His Word says and coming up with our own reality for the moment?
What will we do with this man?…who is the Son of God come down to save us from our sins? Is He still on trial in our hearts?
Mark 15, NLT
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
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 to you 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.
GOING DEEPER STILL…
The Jewish council had to convince Pilate that Jesus was guilty of a capital crime and therefore worthy of death (John 18:31–32). In spite of their political corruption, many Roman officials had an appreciation for justice and tried to deal fairly with prisoners. Furthermore, Pilate had no great love for the Jews and was not about to do them any favors. He knew that the Jewish leaders were not interested in seeing justice done; what they really wanted was vengeance (Mark 15:10).
When you combine the gospel records, you discover that Pilate repeatedly stated that he found no fault in Jesus (John 18:38; Luke 23:14; John 19:4; Luke 23:22; Matt. 27:24). His problem was that he lacked the courage to stand for what he believed. He wanted to avoid a riot (Matt. 27:24), so he was “willing to content the people” (Mark 15:15). Pilate did not ask, “Is it right?” Instead, he asked, “Is it safe? Is it popular?”
Pilate thought he could avoid making a decision by sending Jesus to Herod, the ruler of Galilee (Luke 23:6–12), but Herod only sent Jesus back after mocking Him. Then the governor offered the people a choice—Jesus the Nazarene, or Barabbas, the murderer and insurrectionist—thinking that surely sanity would prevail and they would ask to have Jesus released. But the chief priests had prepared the crowd carefully (Mark 15:11), and they asked for Barabbas to be set free and Jesus to be crucified.
The governor then tried a third ruse: he had Jesus scourged, hoping that the sight of the suffering prisoner would somehow arouse their pity (Mark 15:15; John 19:1ff.). But the plan did not work. The governor gave in and delivered Jesus to be crucified.
Then followed the disgraceful mockery by the soldiers, as they beat Him, spat on Him, and bowed in mock homage. Roman soldiers would certainly laugh at a Jew who claimed to be a king! “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:12–15). Our Lord quietly suffered and did not fight back, a lesson that Mark’s readers would need to learn as they faced official persecution (1 Peter 2:21–24).
But men had not yet done their worst to God’s Son. Now they would lead Him outside the city and nail Him to a cross, and the Servant would die for the sins of the very people who were crucifying Him.
Jesus died for people then and now. Jesus died on a cruel cross for you and for me. Let us not mock this beautiful relationship by ignoring the One who gives us life eternal.
If we are too busy for the most important relationship we will ever have, then we are too busy. If we think He cannot possibly help us with our daily problems and concerns, then we do not know Him. We need to get to know Him.
Stop, now and talk to Him. (He never left you, by the way.) Tell Him your deepest concerns and joyous moments. He loves to hear it all. Love Him back with all that is in You. His love for you never stopped. Listen to Him speak to you today. Watch how He works. Give Him thanks. Renew and restore your relationship by reading His Word and finding Truth for life. New growth in us, from the inside out, will blossom into a life you never could imagine before knowing and following Jesus.
So, what will you do with this Jesus?
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do in our lives. We repent of not going to You first, leaning on You and trusting in You. Thank you for grace and mercy. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for loving us beyond our sin. Thank you for always being with us and never leaving us.
In Jesus Name, Amen