Mark 15:1-5 1 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. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
There are many people who think that it is always God’s will to bless the Christian. Death and sickness and struggles are against the will of God and prosperity and blessings are always His will. The Christian message must always be positive and good and we are always to be happy and rejoicing is the message that they preach and believe. But where does the cross fit into such false beliefs? While it is true that in eternity all sin and evil will be removed forever, it is unwise to think that God can never use evil and suffering to glorify His Name. In fact you could make the argument that the evil and suffering experienced by the Christian reveals the glory of God in a greater way than prosperity and blessings and even miracles. For it is always easy to praise God when times are good and when He has done the miraculous but how you respond when you are being crushed often shows more clearly whether you are born again or not. The glory of God revealed in the suffering Christian is more likely to cause amazement to the unbelieving world than any blessings that we may receive here and now. Many unbelievers are blessed with prosperity and believe that they can “buy” their salvation so any external blessings that God may give to a Christian are often of no interest to them. But they do notice the suffering saint. They are puzzled by him or her. Their behaviour is truly unexpected and foreign. This is clearly seen in Jesus Christ in the events surrounding His crucifixion and the events leading up to His crucifixion. There is no doubt that the glory of God was revealed in Jesus such that even unbelievers took notice.
The interactions between Jesus and Pilate are particularly fascinating. Here you have two great leaders. Pilate was a Roman and he ruled over Judea- the section of Israel which included Jerusalem. The Romans had appointed figurehead Jewish kings over the other regions in Israel (Herod in Galilee and Philip in Ituraea). This background is described in the book of Luke:
Luke 3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene
This encounter between Jesus and Pilate occurred after the chief priests had completed their council meeting to find some way to have Jesus killed (Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus and led men to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane). Jesus admitted directly in front of the chief priests that He is the Son of God and therefore He claimed to be equal with God. Based on Jesus’ own words they accused Him of blasphemy which was punishable by death (Mark 14:62-64) but as the Romans had taken away the Jewish authority related to the death penalty they had to get approval from Pilate. In this present meeting and Roman trial, Pilate would have been closely observing the behavior of both the chief priests and Jesus in order to determine guilt or innocence as well as the facts. There was no lawyer present on Jesus’ behalf (everyone had abandoned Him) and the chief priests themselves were the witnesses of what Jesus had spoken that led them to the charge of blasphemy. There was very little evidence beyond spoken testimony. Without a doubt, Pilate would have known about Jesus entering into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt just days earlier accepting the praise of the people as they worshipped the coming Christ. As Pilate questioned Jesus whether He is the king of the Jews, Jesus admits to this truth. Pilate would have thought to himself, “Was this ‘King of the Jews’ a threat to Rome and to himself?” Having the title of a king in and of itself was not an issue. After all, Herod was declared to be a king as well as his brother Philip. The issue was whether Jesus was a threat to Rome and ultimately to Pilate himself who was governor over Judea. If Rome so decided they could appoint Jesus as a king in Judea ultimately replacing Pilate’s position. The chief priests then hurled all the mud that they could against Jesus before Pilate hoping that something will stick. In all their accusations they reveal the true condition of their hearts. The chief priests were not an impartial council looking for the Law of God to be fulfilled. They had come before Pilate filled with anger and hatred to have Jesus killed and Pilate knew it. They were enemies of Jesus and would do anything to have Him killed. What would Pilate do?
It was Jesus’ behavior that was particularly shocking and amazing to Pilate. Jesus acted in complete self control. He didn’t respond in emotion or anger. In fact, in His own defense He said nothing. He was silent. In spite of all the anger and the hatred spewed against Him by the chief priests Jesus was calm and did not act against them. The chief priests would have been doing everything they could to cause Jesus to come against them and to give them grounds to convince Pilate of His guilt deserving death but Jesus could not be moved. Jesus acted in the most perfect manner against the most unwarranted evil. Any other person would have attacked the chief priests in return for their false accusations and their threatenings but not Jesus. In every way Jesus acted like a king unlike any other. Pilate had never witnessed such a leader like Jesus before. Jesus was not seeking power like your typical earthly leader. Jesus already had all power and authority so He had no reason to try and seek it. He is not only the king of the Jews but of all of mankind. He was far above Pilate and the chief priests but willingly subjected Himself to their judgment as under God as it was to lead to the salvation of mankind. He was more committed to the cross than the chief priest’s desire to have Him killed. In this trial before Pilate you can see the glory of God revealed in Jesus. He acted in a manner so different from what anyone would expect when surrounded by such evil and corruption.
Do you see the king of glory revealed in these events of history recorded almost two thousand years ago? Are you amazed at how Jesus Christ acted in every instance of His earthly life and ministry? Jesus was in complete control in every situation that He faced. Are you in awe of Him? Jesus’ actions should give us hope that if we are born again by the Spirit of God that He too will lead and guide us no matter how difficult or uncertain the situation that we may face. But they also reveal that He is far above any man. He is God in the flesh who came to this world to save us by dying upon the cross in our place to pay the penalty that we deserve. Do you worship Him? Is He your rock and your salvation? Look to Him as your only hope.
Pastor Murray Hack