Life is filled with important questions: who should I marry? Where should I live? What job should I take? Which model iPhone should I purchase? What make of car should I buy? Where should we attend church? Etc. Today you will learn what the most important and inescapable question that every human being on the planet must answer. In the context of our passage, Pontus Pilate poses the question to the crowd. Do you know what it is? I will give you the question in just a moment, but before I do, let’s look at the events leading up to it. Mark 15:
And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged1 Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.Rejected By The Leaders After Jesus responded to the high priest with these words, “I am, and you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” the high priest tore his garments and said, “what further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. The leaders wanted him dead. he had judged their corrupt practices in the temple when he turned over the tables. He exposed their hypocrisy over and over again in public. The powerbrokers of Israel had seen enough. The Sanhedrin had voted on their sentence the night before, but they had no power to carry it out. Jesus had to be condemned by a Roman court, so they led him to Pilate. At this point, Jesus has been held captive from 3:00 am to daybreak. Why did they go to Pilate? Pilate was the legal representative of Roman law in Kudea. He held the office for 10 years, which shows that Rome trusted him; However, the Jews hated him. Why? There were 2 reasons:
- Josephus tells us that Pilate and his troops rode into Jerusalem with an eagle atop their poles. The Jews opposed idolatry, previous governors eliminated this practice when the entered Jerusalem. But not Pilate. Because of this, a riot broke out forcing him to remove the bird.
- Secondly, Pilate started construction on a new water system for Jerusalem, and funded the project by taking money from the temple treasury. This enraged the jewish people. They never forgot this act. The Jews despised him.
- The chief priests had painted Jesus out to be this rebellious, boisterous criminal who was leading an insurrection against the authorities, and yet, Jesus doesn’t say a word. A humble, passive, quiet, and calm individual is standing before him.
- Most people who are tried for a crime plead their innocence. They yell and scream in order to be set free. Not Jesus. He offers no response.
- Verse 9, when he asked, “do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?” it is as if he is reiterated the request of the crowd.
- verse 10, for he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.