Mark 15:1-20 (New Living Translation)
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
1 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.
Why did the Jewish leaders take Jesus to Pilate at all? First, they did not have the legal right to execute their own criminals because Rome revoked that right in A.D. 7. At the time, the Jews regarded this loss as a national disaster because to them it was the final proof that they no longer had the basic right of self-government-–to punish their own criminals–-and it demonstrated that they were totally under the boot of Rome. There were times when the Jews disregarded this prohibition of the Romans and executed those they considered criminals, such as at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:57-60). Why didn’t they take things into their own hands regarding Jesus? Because they knew multitudes had a favorable opinion of Jesus and if Pilate executed Him, they could distance themselves from the political fallout.
2 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
Tiberius, the Roman emperor A.D. 14-37 (in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
The Jewish religious leaders carefully selected that particular accusation against Jesus to present to the governor. If they had said to Pilate that Jesus claimed to be God, Pilate would not have cared, since the Romans worshiped many and various gods and they were believed to appear in human form on occasion. But calling Jesus a king of any kind was a political statement, and the Romans were strict about that: there was no king but Caesar.
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.
from Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who
by Frederick Buechner
Pilate told the people that they could choose to spare the life of either a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth, and they chose Barabbas. Given the same choice, Jesus, of course, would have chosen to spare Barabbas too.
To understand the reason in each case would be to understand much of what the New Testament means by saying that Jesus is the Savior, and much of what it means too by saying that, by and large, people are in bad need of being saved.
He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
HERE Fernando Ortega sings “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.