As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading.
Today's daily reading is: Mark 15:1-20
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
The Jewish leaders lacked the power and authority to kill Jesus, so they asked for help. As the occupying power, only the Romans could order an execution. The high priest, chief priests, teachers of the law and the elders sent Jesus to a man named Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect, or governor, who ruled in Judea from A. D. 26 to 37. Pilate’s residence was at Caesarea, but he traveled often to Jerusalem, particularly during the Passover.
Pilate had one question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus’ answer contains a bit of irony: “You have said so.” Jesus is accused by the ruling authorities of being a usurper, a revolutionary. Pilate represents the Roman Emperor. Caesar is his ruler, or king. Anyone claiming kingship in a conquered land, therefore, is a rival.
The chief priests accuse Jesus before Pilate, and Pilate listens in amazement. He gives Jesus the opportunity to answer, yet Jesus does not reply. Mark tells us of a local custom in Jerusalem where one prisoner would be released at the request of the people during the Passover festival. Mark introduces a man named Barabbas (ironically, a name meaning “son of the father”), an insurrectionist, revolutionary, and murderer. The chief priests stir up the crowd to demand release of Barabbas. Pilate sees through their scheme, but nevertheless wants to placate the crowds.
With a sneer, Pilate asks, “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” He is mocking them. With a shout, they answer, “Crucify him!” Pilate asks for a justification. None is given. Nevertheless, Jesus is handed over to be crucified.
Remember that in Israel the nation’s true king is God alone. Yet here God’s representative--God in the flesh--is rejected.
In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” Christ, the true Son of the Father, is handed over to be crucified, to receive what he did not deserve so that we might receive what we do not deserve: eternal life, healing, restoration, and right standing with God.
God has reconciled us to himself in Christ. Praise be to God!
Jesus, you are my savior, the one who has redeemed me from sin. You are also my king, my Lord. I answer to you. You are my teacher and master. Help me to respond to you in obedience. Teach me your way--the way that leads to life. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.