MARK 15:1-15 (NIV – UK)
Jesus before Pilate
1 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.
HATRED OF CHRIST
‘Hate’ is a strong word. But surely that word is appropriate to use here. Jesus is brought before Pilate, the local Roman governor, where the chief priests accused him of many thing (v. 3). Of course, Jesus is the Son of God, and all charges against him are false – yet the charges are made by the chief priests all the same.
Pilate, suspecting he may be witnessing some injustice, gives the crowd a choice – who do they want to save – the murderer Barabbas or the King of the Jews, Jesus. You would have thought it was a no brainer – real ease the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the Son of God – or a murder. The crowd, spurred only the chief priests, chose the murder. Shouting at the top of their voices ‘crucify him’ and offering no reasoned explanation as to why (v. 13-14) – what we witness here is irrational hatred of Jesus – this is how the world feels about Jesus.
And so if the world feels like this about Jesus, we can be sure that if we are following him faithfully and openly, we will experience discomfort – in fact, Jesus says just that (Mark 13:13). When the world hates because we are living for Jesus, we can take great comfort that it hated him first (John 15:18) – so much so that it sentenced him to death.
Question: How does it make you feel to see Jesus hated so much? Have you ever experienced any hatred because of Jesus?