Mark: 15:1-15: The irrationality of unbelief.
“Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. 2 ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate. ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. 6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 ‘Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to get Pilate to release Barabbas instead. 12 ‘What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?’ Pilate asked them. 13 ‘Crucify him!’ they shouted. 14 ‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’ 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.“ NIV UK
It made no sense. It made no sense to crucify an innocent Man – One who had only ever done good. It made no sense to flog a guiltless Man. If Jesus was innocent (and it is clear from the gospel accounts that Pilate knew He was) why put Him through such a brutal whipping?It made no sense to release back into the community a notorious murderer and trouble causer. Why would you want Barabbas returned to the streets?
Why? It makes no sense.
The hatred of Christ, and also of Christians through the years, by and large makes no sense at all. It isn’t logical. But those who believe in a devil can see proof of his existence in such venomous, malevolent animosity. Once you believe that there is a being called Satan, then the light begins to dawn.The great hater and opponent of God saw an opportunity to get rid of Him. That backfired big time, so today, as He can’t touch Jesus, he goes after his people.
This passage also shows what damage ‘’envy’’ (10) and people-pleasing (15) will do in this world. Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but he desired to keep his job even more, and so he was prepared to treat Him abominably (15).
Today’s reading reminds us of words found in Isaiah 53:7:
‘’He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.’’
Someone has pointed out that verse 12 presents us with an ‘Inescapable Question’. What will we do with Jesus? Will we reject Him, or accept Him?